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Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, went to the United Kingdom last week to discuss trade and investment amid increased criticism from church leaders back home who say the government is effectively enabling attacks on Christians in the country.
“They [the government] are using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam, which then gives more weight to the idea that it can be achieved by violence,” Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto told the charity Aid to the Church in Need earlier this month. “With the situation in Nigeria, it is hard to see the moral basis they have to defeat Boko Haram.”
The bishop spoke out after the beheading of 10 Christians by the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) on Christmas day and an attack by the Islamist group Boko Haram on Christmas eve in which seven people were killed.
“The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is Boko Haram is holding a bomb,” the bishop said, adding the Buhari government had created the environment in which Islamist groups like Boko Haram could thrive.
“It is not a lie that this government is favoring Islam,” said Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, a prominent evangelical leader in Nigeria, pointing at how Buhari’s political appointments are all Muslim while Nigeria’s population is a nearly even balance of Christian and Muslim.
There have been too many unfulfilled promises, he told Nigeria Everyday. Para-Mallam has been an advocate for the release of Leah Sharibu, a Christian teenager who was abducted by Boko Haram almost two years ago and is believed to still be detained by the group. Last year Buhari promised her family he would do all he could to bring her back. “If the government is truly committed to ending some of these impunities, the crises and the attacks on Christians would have stopped, a lot more could have been done to achieve this,” said the pastor.
Nigeria is 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. Just as in 2019, Nigeria’s score for violence was at maximum, due to attacks by Islamist Fulani militants, Boko Haram and other armed groups. Some 1,350 Nigerian Christians lost their lives in the violence.
(Voice of the Persecuted) As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and the blessings of God and family, again we ask for you to remember millions of our brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted. Many brothers and sisters worship in secret. Large numbers are in hiding, refugee camps, brutal prisons or held as captives completely cut off from their families. Their crime? Choosing faith in Jesus Christ and refusing to deny him as their Lord and Savior. It’s critical that we remember the Persecuted Church and stand in solidarity with them. Therefore, can you place a setting on your holiday table in remembrance of our persecuted family in Christ? The empty place setting at your Thanksgiving dinner table will serve as a reminder to pray for all those wrongfully imprisoned and being persecuted for their Christian faith around the world.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:18-20
As we sit down to dinner, praise the Lord giving thanks that we live in a nation with protected religious freedom and the right to worship our Lord without fear of being persecuted. Remember to include our persecuted Church family in our prayers. Ask your family and friends if they can join you to pray daily for those suffering. Let’s get America praying!
Please share a picture of the place setting on your social media pages with the hashtags #Thanksgiving and #NotForgotten. It greatly encourages the persecuted to see others are remembering to pray for them. Share your photo with us so we can pass it along to them.
Praying for the peace of our Lord to wash over you and your families. That anger or animosity can be put aside and love is shared by all at your gatherings. May you and your family spend the day counting all your blessings and thanking God for every single one. That you will shine the Light with a heart full of love allowing nothing to steal your joy. That my friends is a personal choice we can all choose this day, regardless of our situations or the people around us.
Happy Thanksgiving and may God greatly bless you!
Lois Kanalos, Founder and the Voice of the Persecuted Team
‘Shocking’: Cradle of Christianity on the Verge of Collapse as Turkey Turns Northern Syria into Deat
By Chris Mitchell—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to continue an assault that has turned parts of northern Syria into a death zone. Erdogan made his announcement just days before a scheduled White House meeting with President Donald Trump. Erdogan’s invasion, which he calls “Operation Spring Peace,” seeks to create a so-called “safe zone” completely free of the Kurds, a US ally in the fight against ISIS. — Dave Eubank of the Free Burma Rangers on the front lines and told CBN News that “there has been constant fighting since the invasion” despite reports of Turkey agreeing to a cease-fire.
“There’s never been a cease-fire, not one day. Airstrikes by drones, regular airstrikes, artillery, mortars, Turkish tanks. I mean shooting right at us,” he explained.
Eubank says the United States’ decision to leave the area left a vacuum on the battlefield.
“Once we stepped back – whom? – here came the Turks and the Free Syrian Army, most of who were jihadis. And they fled, they ran for their lives, there were 300,000. Massive ethnic cleansing that now America is a part of. And it’s not completely genocide because no one’s hanging around to be killed, because they know they will be killed,”
Eubank has watched Turkey’s NATO army work side by side with virtual terrorists. Read more
Nigeria (Morning Star News) – A pregnant mother of two children was among three Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in north-central Nigeria the night of July 14 and morning of July 15, sources said.
Margaret Wakili, a 27-year-old member of the Baptist Church in Ancha village, Plateau state, was slain on her farm at about 10 a.m. on July 15, area residents told Morning Star News.
The herdsmen attacked the Christian communities of Ancha, Tafigana, Kperie, Hukke and Rikwechongu, killing the three Christians and burning down 75 houses and two church buildings, according to area residents Patience Moses, Zongo Lawrence and Chinge Dodo Ayuba.
Ancha village was the scene of an attack two years ago, when Fulani herdsmen killed 22 Christians, all members of the Baptist Church in the village.
Moses told Morning Star News by phone that Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked the villages on the night of July 14 and the early hours of July 15. In Tafigana village, Bassa County, she said, they killed Thomas Wollo, 46, and his son, Ngwe Thomas Wollo, 7.
“Both of them were ambushed and killed in Tafigana village as they were returning to their home after attending a church program at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Tafigana, at about 8:30 pm,” she said.
Lawrence, of Miango town, told Morning Star News that the herdsmen beheaded the elder Wallo after killing him. He said attacks on Christian communities in the area have heightened, with one village or another attacked nearly every day.
“We have been experiencing daily attacks by these Fulani herdsmen in our communities, most especially on Sundays during worship hours or Thursdays when church activities are held,” he said.
Lawrence said that 75 houses with food stores and two church buildings were burned down.
“The herdsmen destroyed farm produce worth millions of naira, and a lot of domestic animals were killed in the two villages,” he said.
The attacks on the farms occurred on July 14 as Christians were in worship services in the villages, he said.
Ayuba, another resident of the area, confirmed that Wollo and his son were killed on July 14.
“The attacks by the herdsmen continued on Monday morning with another village, Ancha, attacked, and a woman killed,” Ayuba said. “As a people, we are continuously under attack, and nobody seems to be hearing our cries for help, while killing of our people has now become a routine.”
Two other area Christians were killed in prior attacks. On July 7 in Kperie village of Kwall District, also in Bassa County, the herdsmen ambushed and killed a Christian identified as Ezekiel Audu, 25, at about 9 pm., Moses said.
“Christian residents said Audu was riding his motorcycle in company of his friends when they were ambushed and shot by the herdsmen,” she said. “He was a member of ECWA [Evangelical Church Winning All] church in Kperie village.”
Prior to the July14-15 assaults, the herdsmen also attacked Hukke and Rikwechongu villages, destroying crops on farms belonging to Christians.
On May 3 at about 10 p.m., the herdsmen had attacked the same two villages, killing a Christian identified as 63-year-old Di Zere. Zere was killed in his room when the herdsmen broke into his house as he and his family were sleeping. His corpse was burnt, and his 10-year-old daughter sustained gunshot wounds.
Lawrence said Fulani herdsmen have killed 17 area Christians this year.
“We are left without rescue,” he said. “Houses were burnt and razed down, alongside many churches. Farm produce has been destroyed, while many with gunshot wounds are currently in hospitals. Hundreds of our people have been killed by the Fulani herdsmen in the past three years.”
Enugu State Shooting
In southeastern Nigeria’s Enugu state, Fulani herdsmen shot and wounded a Catholic priest and one of his parishioners on Wednesday (July 17), sources said.
The Rev. Ikechukwu Ilo of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, in Numeh, was shot as he and Chika Egbo drove along the Numeh-Nenwe Highway in Nkanu East County at about 7 p.m., according to a church press statement.
The statement from the Catholic Church quotes the priest as saying that those who attacked them were armed herdsmen.
“As we drove towards the village, the Fulani killer herdsmen, who spoke both in English and Fulani languages, opened fire, trying to force us to stop,” Ilo said. “Seeing that we were not ready to cave in to their intimidation, they started raining bullets on our vehicle at close range, and in the process, shot me at my ankle and shoulder while the other victim was shot in her leg and waist.”
The Rev. Benjamin Achi, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, told Morning Star News by phone that the attack on the priest and parishioner was carried out by Fulani herdsmen.
“Fr. Ilo and the woman with him are currently receiving treatment at a Catholic Church health facility, the Annunciation Specialist Hospital, Emene, Enugu state,” Achi said.
Police also on Friday (July 19) confirmed the attack.
“The Enugu state command of the Nigeria Police Force through its operatives are investigating the attack on a priest identified as Rev. Fr. Ikechukwu Ilo of St. Patrick Parish, Numeh on Wednesday July 18, 2019, along the Numeh axis of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State,” police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu said in a press statement.
There is a history of attacks on Catholics in the state. In October 2016, herdsmen kidnapped two priests as the clergymen carried out pastoral duties in their local parishes. One of the kidnapped priests, the Rev. Aniako Celestine of St. Joseph Catholic Church, in Ukana, Udi County, was kidnapped by Fulani herdsmen while carrying out pastoral duties in the town of Ezeagu.
The second kidnapped priest, the Rev. Chijioke Amoke of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Onicha Enugu Ezike in Igboeze North County, was also kidnapped by armed herdsmen, diocesan officials reported.
Another Catholic priest, the Rev. Lazarus Nwafor, in August 2016 was killed by herdsmen when they attacked Attakwu town in Enugu state. The Rev. Callistus Onaga, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, stated then that Nwafor was cut several times in the attack by the herdsmen on the Attakwu Christian community in Nkanu West County.
Such attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen have adversely affected churches and crippled productive activities in the area, church leaders say.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.
(Voice of the Persecuted) Pakistani Christian brothers, Qasir (also shared as Qaisar) and Amoon Ayub, have been sentenced to death in the Talagang District Jhelum court after being accused of blasphemy. Both brothers have been held under the charge of 295-A, B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code in the District Jail Jhelum since their arrest in 2014. Their case was heard on December 13, but due to security reasons, the brothers were not in the courtroom and told of the death sentence ruling from inside the jail. Qasir is married with three children, while Amoon is also married and a teacher at the Cathedral School in Lahore.
The allegations surfaced when they were accused of posting disrespectful material on their website, reported AsiaNews. However, Qasir said he closed his account in 2009 but one of his Muslim friends, Shahryar Gill, somehow managed to restore the website and kept ownership in Qasir’s name.
He had worked at the international office of the Raja Centre in Lahore. While at work in 2010, an argument broke out between his friends and one of them made a comment about another’s sister. The ‘friend’ blamed Qasir and warned him that it was a serious matter in Pakistan. Shortly after, Qasir started to receive death threats from them and he went into hiding. When the situation deteriorated he and his brother fled to Singapore without telling their wives. After a month, they returned to Pakistan and Amoon shared the whole story with his his wife. Yet the situation remained tense, so they left again this time for Thailand. Unable to survive there for very long, they went back to Pakistan in 2012.
After four years on the run they were arrested. A friend told Qasir that the authorities were looking for him. On November 10, 2014, while Amoon was on his way to work, the police detained him. They questioned him about his brother and said a case had been registered against him. Qasir told Amoon to stay hidden. Qasir was later arrested and sent to District jail Jhelum. Fearing for his safety, Amoon again tried to flee the country but was detained by Immigrant Police at the Lahore Airport. Later police sent him to Jhelum District Jail for the same offense as his brother.
Amoon’s wife did all she could to get her husband released, but has failed. She approached the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) for assistance.
(CLAAS) represented Qasir and Amoon and told Voice of the Persecuted that they will challenge the sentence before the Lahore High Court Bench at Rawalpindi as soon as possible. The group believes judges hearing blasphemy cases are threatened by religious fanatics and why those accused of blasphemy are convicted.
CLAAS-UK Director, Nasir Saeed told Voice of the Persecuted,
“This is a very unfortunate situation as because of threats from hardliners, lower courts pass their responsibility to the higher court and then it takes years to prove the accused innocent. In this case the trial Judge did not apply his judicious mind and convicted the accused in a very casual manner.
We have seen this in the recent case of Asia Bibi, who was similarly convicted by the lower court and it took her years to reach to the Supreme Court to get justice. I am afraid now Qasir and Amoon will have to wait years to get justice. It is a sad reality that the present government has no intention even to talk about or to take steps to stop the ongoing misuse of the blasphemy law. Pakistani President Dr Arif Alvi has already said that the government would not amend the law. This means the killing of innocent people will continue despite growing opposition to the law around the world.”
He shared that the Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has been acknowledged by the world for his recent decision of opening the Kartarpur corridor for Indian Sikhs. However, he has no plans for Pakistan’s own minorities. Nasir added that minorities feared Khan’s statements of making Pakistan a Medina-like state.
“Very recently, his statement that there is no mention of Jesus in history, hurting the feelings of Christians not just in Pakistan, but throughout the world,” he also lamented.
The sentence was handed down only two days after America put Pakistan on a religious freedom blacklist, and is expected to again draw attention to the country’s harsh blasphemy laws.
Qasir’s son (14yr.) has been experiencing extreme anxiety since his father’s incarceration. Please keep these brothers and their loved ones in your prayers.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman condemned to death on blasphemy charges after accepting her 2015 appeal against her sentence.
“The judgement of the high court and that of the trial court is reversed,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said, reading out the verdict. He added that Asia Bibi should be set free if she is not wanted in any other case.
“Her conviction is set aside and she is to be relieved forthwith if not required in other charges,” the judgement read. (Dawn)
All glory to GOD in the Highest!
We congratulate to Pakistan for their courage!
(Morning Star News) – Armed Fulani herdsmen accompanied by militants in Nigerian army uniforms killed 17 Christians in their homes in the heart of Jos, north-central Nigeria, on Thursday (Sept. 27), including four children, area sources said.
At about 7:30 p.m. in an area known as Rukuba Road, the assailants broke into one home shooting randomly and killed 14 members of one family, including 15-year-old Ishaya Kogi, 17-year-old Jonathan Kogi, Cynthia Kogi, 22, and Lucky Kogi, 25, their uncle told Morning Star News.
Two of Lucky Kogi’s children, 3-year-old Majesty Lucky and Blessing Lucky, 14, were also killed in the assault, he said.
“When the Fulani herdsmen came, they shot into the house randomly, breaking and forcing their way into rooms shooting defenseless women and children and anyone in sight,” the mournful Rogu Audu, who lost his mother and two of his own children in the attack, told Morning Star News.
The 50-year-old member of ECWA church, Blue Zinc, Rukuba Road, Jos, said his mother, Kande Audu, 75, was killed in the assault, along with two of his children – Ruth Rogu, 18, and Dorcas Rugu, 20. The two had gone to their grandparents’ house to take them dinner, he said.
The attack took place close to the Nigerian army military cantonment (camp), Rukuba Barracks, in Jos. Surviving family members told Morning Star News that the Fulani herdsmen, armed with both firearms and machetes, were accompanied by Nigerian army soldiers.
“The Fulani herdsmen came from the Wild Life Park, which shares a border with our community,” Audu said. “The park is located in the southern flank of Rukuba Road and has rocky hills, which provided the attackers with cover to enable them to invade our community.”
The four children of one family slain were those of Kogi Audu, 47, also killed. She was the wife of Rogu Audu’s brother. Her fifth child, Blessing Kogi, 22, was injured in the slaughter and was receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos, he said.
Two other female relatives, Azumi Gado, 20, and Ladi Rigi, 22, were on a visit to the house at the time of the attack and killed, Audu said.
Rogu Audu also told Morning Star News that armed Fulani herdsmen attacked the home of his uncle, 65-year-old Sunday Moru, killing Moru’s granddaughter, Blessing Sunday, 18, and her fiancé, 23-year-old Monday. The couple was visiting him.
All those killed were members of the local Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) congregation, he said.
Area resident Daniel Kadiya, 60, told Morning Star News that the herdsmen also attacked his son’s house, where three of his grandchildren were struck with machetes. Wounded were Redzie Yakubu, 14, Patience Yakubu, 8, and Philip Yakubu, 5, he said.
“They had machete cuts and are currently receiving treatment at the Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos,” Kadiya told Morning Star News. “Redzie was cut on her head, Patience was cut on her right hand, while Philip was cut on the face and hands.”
His son and daughter-in-law were not at home at the time of the attack.
Rogu Audu said that the armed Fulani herdsmen on the same day killed three other ECWA members in the area, members of the Yoruba ethnic group, but their names were not readily available as residents said relatives had moved their property out of their house the following afternoon.
Attacks by Fulani militant herdsmen have increased in the past three years, according to Jubilee Campaign.
“Since the beginning of 2018, the violence is again spiking with reported deaths attributed to Fulani militant herdsmen climbing to at least 1,860 people, with an additional 300 plus victims claimed by Boko Haram,” Jubilee reported earlier this year. “Again, most of these victims are Christians from small ethnic minority communities in the northeastern states.”
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Please continue to pray for our Nigerian brothers and sisters facing rising ongoing persecution.
(Intersociety Nigeria: Sunday, 16th September 2018)-The agonies of Christians in Nigeria have uncontrollably continued and escalated with possibility of same being adopted as a reelection strategy by the Muslim led central Government in the country. It must be stated clearly here again that anti Christian attacks including killings and destruction of properties and sacred places and symbols of worship by Fulani jihadists are solely perpetrated or targeted against members, properties and sacred places of worship of members of the Christian faith in industrial scale as well as members of other non Muslim population in Nigeria. It is still on record that no single Muslim or Mosque has been targeted for death or destruction by the Jihadist terrorists in the country or any part thereof.
Statistically, a total of no fewer than 2000 Christian lives have been lost to Fulani jihadists alone since January 2018 with no fewer than 250 killed between 15th July and 15th September 2018. No fewer than 120 were killed in less than ten days in July or between 2nd and 11th July 2018. The killings briefly went down between 15th July and first week of August 2018 with about 30 killings before their resurged increase since the last week of August to 15th September 2018; leading to death of over 100 Christians. Totality of these brings the total number of innocent and defenseless Christians slaughtered by Fulani jihadists in the past eight and half months or between 1st January and 15th September 2018 to over 2000. The figure did not include the number of Christians killed by Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria since January 2018 or “battle-field related” deaths.
The anti Christian killings have gone so bad that they are now being celebrated by many members of the Nigerian northern Muslim population especially on social media. A clear case in point was the barrage of social media attacks, aspersions and vituperations cast at or poured on a Pentecostal pastor who went on social media to appeal for western intervention and assistance over the incessancy of anti Christian butcheries in Nigeria including the recent massacre by Fulani jihadists of Pastor Adamu Gyang Wurim, his wife and three children in Plateau State.
From the look of things, these killings have not only raised the “popularity” of President Muhammadu Buhari among teeming and crudely uneducated young Muslim population in northern Nigeria, but also appeared to have made him to be seen among them as “pure Muslim/defender of Allah”; an unholy edge he appears to have over his fellow northern Muslim presidential hopefuls in the coming 2019 presidential poll.
The President’s caliphate style of administration or governance in the country is also believed in some social quarters to have gone down well with many of the educated and uneducated Muslim population in northern part of the country particularly his Fulani kinsmen and women; culminating in recent issuance of threats of violence against his fellow Muslim presidential hopefuls to back off from the race to allow the President as “the only man standing”.
A clear case in point was recent threats of violence including death made by one of the leaders of the mother body of Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria called “the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN)”. The open threats of violence were issued against the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who is of a Yoruba-Fulani Muslim root.
Another fellow Muslim Presidential hopeful in the coming 2019 presidential poll, Alhaji Atikur Abubakar had also recently cried out over threats to his life and that of his wife and children by unnamed group of persons strongly believed to link to the Fulani jihadists. These emergent threats to lives and properties of political opponents of President Muhammadu Buhari by the Fulani jihadists are a clear pointer to the midwifery, aiding and abetting of the atrocities and impunity of the Fulani jihadists by the Administration of the President.
There are also reports of sustained state actor and non state actor threats against members of Christian faith in Northern Nigeria particularly in Kaduna State where the State Government recently on 28th May 2018 issued a proclamation Islamizing the State traditional stools and institutions by changing them to “Emirate Council or Caliphate” including those located in Christian dominated Southern Kaduna. In some places, holy bibles are reportedly burnt or destroyed while in others Christian prayers are no longer said in the open. Open Christian evangelism is becoming life threatening in such areas except in areas populated in large numbers by members of the Christian faith.
Some Christians in some northern parts of the country are also reported to have been so threatened that they no longer worship or meet in clusters or in their church buildings except use of teleconferencing and other online points of contact. The negative effects of Fulani jihadists’ killings or untamed violence against northern Christians have further made some Christian faithful to undergo post traumatic stress disorder (PTSDs); as well as raising, emboldening and radicalizing other fanatical Muslim groups and individuals to further let loose on their Christian neighbors including threatening and shutting them off with reckless abandon from their religious beliefs and practices. In all these, Governments at the State and Federal levels including their security agencies either watch and do nothing or collude, aid and abet the crimes and protect their perpetrators.
The Christian agonies in Nigeria include killing of Christian children and busting, using machetes and guns, of pregnancies of the heavily pregnant Christian women leading to their death and that of their unborn children; killing of other Christians (i.e. women, children, the physically challenged, young men and women, the aged and the sick) in their sleep, sick and retirement apartments, farms and other work places as well as sacred places of worship. The agonies also involve property destruction involving land seizure and forceful occupation as well as attacks, burning and destruction of sacred places and symbols of Christian worship including churches, altars, monasteries, seminaries, chapels, schools, cassocks, holy bibles, chaplets, statutes, crucifixes, etc.
Going by our updates following recent general evaluation of various reports and investigative findings on killing of Christians and destruction of their sacred places of worship in Nigeria particularly since January 2018, no fewer than 2000 Christian lives have been lost in the hands of the Fulani jihadists hiding under the cover of “Fulani Herdsmen”. The said Jihadists carry out their untamed atrocities using the existing primitive pastoralist cattle herding network manned by cattle pastoralists called “Fulani Herdsmen”.
The primitive network involves downward movements of herds of cattle and their herders into the rain forest region of Nigeria with associated makeshift settlements inside bushes and forests; now heavily guarded by the lopsidedly composed and Muslim led Nigerian military formations. The attacks highlighted above are easily launched and coordinated by the jihadists especially at night using the said primitive cattle herding routes and settlements as attack bases and for intelligence gathering; in addition to military and police guard or protection.
Breakdown of Updated Statistics: We had on 2nd July 2018, released the statistics of the anti Christian butcheries in Nigeria, showing that the Fulani jihadists killed no fewer than 1,750 Christians in the first six months of 2018 or January to June. In our follow-up statement of 11th July 2018, the number of Christian victims of the Fulani jihadists’ attacks increased to 1,870, indicating the killing of additional 120 Christians in less than ten days or between 2nd and 11th July 2018. The killings associated with the 120 Christian deaths specifically took place in Adamawa and Taraba villages and communities.
The said general evaluation of the killings by terror Fulani Militia (a.k.a. Fulani Herdsmen), as contained in our special statement of 2nd July 2018, clearly indicated that Benue State recorded the highest number of rural Christian and other non Muslim deaths with no fewer than 600, followed by Plateau State with 400; Taraba 250; Nasarawa 200; Southern Kaduna 100, Adamawa 100 and Kogi State 100. Presently, no fewer than 620 Christian lives have been lost in the past eight and half months (1st January-15th September 2018) in Benue, 450 in Plateau while Adamawa and Taraba States recorded no fewer than 550.
The anti Christian killings later went down especially between 15th July and first week of August 2018 following international media attentions and diplomatic concerns in some western countries, prompting the Nigeria’s Minister of Information to embark on globetrotting and image laundering in selected western countries tagged “killings arising from Farmers-Herdsmen clashes have stopped”. The said few western concerns followed the three days of unstoppable massacre of rural Christians in eleven villages of Plateau State which began on 24th June 2018 leading to death of no fewer than 250 defenseless Christian citizens including pregnant women, children, other women and men.
The said reduction resulted in fewer death of about 30 Christians between July 15and first week of August 2018, compared to alarming number of deaths recorded in the previous months. The sudden reduction was also strongly believed to have been unconnected with directive of the political and military patrons of the jihadists to cease a momentary fire to possibly douse the said selected western media and diplomatic pressure on political leadership in Nigeria.
However, the killings have returned at alarming rate especially since the last week of August 2018, leading to killing of no fewer than 250 more Christians as at 15th September 2018. The figure included no fewer than 120 Christians killed between 3rd and 11th July 2018 most of which took place in Adamawa and Taraba States. Between 15th July and first week of August 2018, no fewer than 30 more Christians were killed in the old Middle Belt; and between last week of August and 15th September 2018, over 100 more Christians have died in the hands of Fulani jihadists who hide under the cover of “Fulani Herdsmen”.
Christians in Nigeria are also most likely to have lost not less than 500 churches and other church related facilities since January 2018. The Government of Benue State has just on Thursday, 13th September 2018 disclosed that “over 560 Christians have been killed in the Fulani Herdsmen attacks in the State between January and August 2018” during which half of five Christian Local Government Areas of the State were sacked. The State Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom named the affected five LGAs as Makurdi, Gwer West, Guma, Logo and Kwande Local Government Areas.
In the latest round of killings, Adamawa and Plateau States are worst hit while Benue, Kaduna and Taraba States are not left out. By the Punch Newspaper account of 15th September 2018, no fewer than 51 Christians including a Pastor of the Lutheran Church lost their lives to Fulani jihadists in coordinated attacks launched on Thursday night in villages of Gon, Nzumosu, Bolki, Nyanga and Bukuto Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
The Adamawa Christian villages above mentioned have also lost hundreds of Christians and dozens of churches in the hands of the Nigerian security forces and armed Fulani jihadists since December 2017 including over 80 Christians killed on 4th December 2017 in simultaneous air raids and ground attacks simultaneously launched by Nigerian war jets and armed Fulani jihadists. The Government of Nigeria initially denied it but later claimed “they were armed bandits terrorizing the area being chased away by Government forces”.
The Fulani jihadists who were reported to have stormed the Adamawa villages on Thursday night, 13th September 2018 from neighboring Abbare in Taraba State in large numbers also burnt three villages and churches after slaughtering no less than 15 Christians and a Pastor. The Punch Newspaper report further quoted a resident of Bolki village, Mr. James Nzonzo as saying that “the boat escaping with 40 endangered (Christian) women escaping the attacks got capsized killing 35 and leaving only five rescued alive”. The attacks and killings were independently confirmed by our local contact who is also a Christian Pastor in the area. The Punch Newspaper also quoted a Member representing the Numan State Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Mrs. Sodom Tayedi as further confirming and condemning the attacks.
Plateau State has lost no fewer than 30 Christians since last week of August 2018 and 50 since 15th July. The renewed anti Christian killings in the State included not less than eight Christians killed by the Fulani jihadists on 28th August 2018 also reported by the Punch Newspaper of 30th August 2018, among other media reports. The attacks launched at churches and houses in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the State claimed the lives of no fewer than eight Christians including Pastor Adamu Gyang Wurim, his wife and three children.
On Sunday night of 2nd September 2018, no fewer than 13 Christians were killed by Fulani jihadists in Latya Village, Du District of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State. The Telegraph Newspaper report of 3rd September 2018 said that the attacks came late night of Sunday, 2nd September 2018 when the Fulani jihadists stormed the Village and opened fire killing 13 Christians. Not less than five Christians were also killed on Saturday, 18th and Sunday, 19th of August 2018 in Shonong and Kwi villages of Riyom Local Government as well as in Ndin and Haipang villages at Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State. While two Christians were killed in the former on Saturday night, three others were killed on Sunday night in the latter. The instances above are just to mention but few.
A new government censorship has further been introduced into such anti Christian killings whereby security forces now refer to Fulani jihadists as “unknown gunmen” or “suspected rival cultists”. Some independent media practitioners have also been forced by the country’s undercover security establishments to adopt and use same in their media reports.
It is recalled that during our special interview with the Washington D.C., USA based Christian Post Online, granted on 2nd August and published on 25thAugust 2018, one of the nine questions asked over the raging anti Christian butcheries in Nigeria was premised on “false position and influence by the Federal Government of Nigeria in many western media and diplomatic circles to the effect that killings in Nigeria have no iota of religious undertone but merely arising from herders-farmers clashes”. Findings also showed that a fortune is spent internationally by the Nigerian Government to sustain this falsehood and misinformation through “international media and diplomatic lobbying”.
The special interview, monitored in Dublin Ireland and published in Washington D.C., strongly found that “the anti Christian killings and killers have persisted and continued because the political authorities in Nigeria that ought to end them are mindlessly found working hand in glove with the killers or encouraging and emboldening them by misinforming the world and doing little or nothing to stop same”.
The present Nigerian military establishments are so partisan or Islamic and jihadist friendly that apart from holistic adoption of the country-wide establishment of “Fulani grazing routes and ranching”, military presence and patrols are maintained in all Fulani herding settlements in the rain forest region of Nigeria particularly those located in Southeast and South-south regions of the country.
Such settlements either have military or police “sedentary or pastoral formations” located around them or they are located in bushes and forests near the already existing ones. The location of Asa main and Ogwe satellite army checkpoints in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State is a clear case in point. It is further found that such settlements or protection of existing ones are routinely done by the military establishments using the cover of “army python dance” and “army crocodile dance” series in Southeast and South-south regions of Nigeria respectively.
We therefore renew our call for end of anti Christian butcheries in Nigeria and scrapping of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and founding of a new and more purposeful Christian body with capacity to rising to the occasion including congregation and aggregation of all Christian bodies and members in Nigeria into a formidable movement with unblemished legitimacy, integrity, courage, boldness, knowledge, means and contacts to secure and protect the lives and properties of Christians and churches in Nigeria. The present CAN is integrity challenged and incapable of leading a secured Christian population and their sacred places and symbols of worship.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair
Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq.
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Chinaza Ndidiamaka Bernard, Esq.
Head, Int’l Justice & Human Rights Program