VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Home » Posts tagged 'genocide'

Tag Archives: genocide

Categories

Archives

Pastor, 16-Year-Old Girl among 11 Christians Killed in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Godwin Jonathan Bakoshi, kidnapped and killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen. (Morning Star News courtesy of family)

(Morning Star News) – A 16-year-old girl, a father of nine children and a church pastor were among 11 Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen this week in southern Kaduna state, sources said.

On Tuesday (Aug. 18) in Zangon Kataf County, herdsmen attacked Unguwan Gankon village, killing a 16-year-old student, Takama Paul, and another Christian, 30-year-old Kefas Malachy Bobai, a father of three children, Luka Binniyat of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) said.

“Armed Fulani militia invaded Unguwan Gankon village in Gora Ward, Zangon Kataf LGA, and killed two persons and burned seven houses,” Binniyat said in a press statement. “Wary neighbors, however, came to the rescue, and the murderers fled.”

On Monday (Aug. 17) in Kajuru County, he said, herdsmen killed a Christian farmer and father of nine, Bulus Joseph, 48. His wife and three of his children were also attacked but survived, he said.

“Bulus Joseph was murdered gruesomely on his farm at Sabon Gida Idon, along the Kaduna-Kachia road, by armed Fulani militia,” Binniyat said. “He stood up to the killers so that his wife and three children could escape, which they did. But he paid the price with his life, as he was sub-humanly butchered by the cold-blooded murderers.”

Four Christians killed in an attack on a vehicle on Sunday, Aug. 16, (not Monday as previously reported) included a pastor with the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), according to SOKAPU.

The Rev. Adalchi Usman, pastor of an ECWA congregation in Unguwan Madaki village in Kajuru County, was shot dead in an ambush on him and three other Christians by Muslim Fulani herdsmen as they were traveling out of the community, Binniyat said.

Also slain were Christians Mariah Na’Allah of Unguwan Madaki village, Shekari of Unguwan Ali, originally from Anchuna village in Zangon Kataf County, and Ezekiel Maikasa of Gadanaji in Kajuru County, he said.

“Pastor Adalchi Usman, 39, and a father of two, was ambushed while in a commercial vehicle he had boarded with three others,” Binniyat said. “The killers came from the bush and just started shooting at the car. The driver of the vehicle, Danlami Dariya, was abducted and at the time of releasing this statement his whereabouts were still unknown.”

Binniyat confirmed a previous report to Morning Star News from a Bugai village area resident of a herdsmen attack on the community on Sunday (Aug. 16).

Armed Fulani militia attacked the village near Banikanwa, Kachia County, killing village head Dan’azumi Musa, 67; his mother, Kande Musa, 97; and his siblings Aniya Musa, 60, and Angelina Irmiya, 45, Binniyat said.

Six others sustained serious injuries, he said: John Dan’azumi, Danbuzu Anita, Blessing Soja, Patricia Anita, Precious Friday and Mercy Yohana.

“Part of the village was burnt after the attackers looted the village,” he said. “This is to further show that the siege on southern Kaduna communities is still ongoing. The genocide is still much on. For southern Kaduna, the past five years that Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has been governor, it has been a grim horror tale of blood, destruction, and hopelessness which we shall never forget.”

Enoch Barde, a resident of Abashiya village in Kaduna state’s Kachia County, told Morning Star News that the corpse of Godwin Jonathan Bakoshi, a village Christian who was kidnapped on July 29, was recovered by Christians on Monday (Aug. 17).

Bakoshi, 23, had gone to a farm with two of his brothers and the 12-year-old son of a local ECWA pastor when armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked them on July 29, Barde said in a text message to Morning Star News. Bakoshi was taken captive and killed, but the other three escaped, he said.

“The two brothers who escaped were able to return to the village the following morning after sleeping in the bush,” Barde said. “The third escapee [12-year-old’s name withheld for security reasons] only returned to the village after wandering in the bush for three days and told us that while he was hidden, he heard the gunshot sound when Godwin Jonathan Bakoshi was killed by the Fulani herdsmen.”

Occupied Villages

Binnayat said that 50,000 Christians have been displaced from 109 villages now occupied by armed Fulani herdsmen in Kachia, Kajuru, Chikun and Kaura counties, all in southern Kaduna state.

“Indigenous rural, Christian communities of southern Kaduna have been sacked by rampaging armed Fulani militia and displaced to various communities and Internally Displaced Persons camps,” he said. “These villages are now under the full occupation of Fulani some for over a year.”

Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

In January, Christian Solidarity International issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

Unfolding Genocide in Nigeria (video)

International Day Of Religious Freedom (IDORF) – 2020

Following the Declaration by the General Assembly of United Nations that 22nd August of each year should be marked as International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion, Belief, or Faith, the religious community in Nigeria marked the Day with a Press Conference held in Lagos, Nigeria.

The Ignored Genocide of Christians in Nigeria

 

Nigeria-Christian-child-searches-for-parents-VOICE_OF_THE_PERSECUTED™

Nigerian Christian child searching for his parents displaced after the attack

Gatestone Institute

The mass slaughter of Christians in Nigeria, which some international observers have classified as genocide, is reaching unprecedented levels.

According to an August 4 report, at least 171 Christians were slaughtered by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in the space of roughly three weeks:

And these are only those we know of. In reality, the toll is likely to be far higher. Many thousands are also being displaced by the violence from homes and such livelihoods as they had left after covid lockdown brought economic havoc…. Our news desk has been swamped by such stories for many months, yet this relentless and bloody toll of Christian lives is disturbingly absent from wider mainstream media.

In one of the recent raids, on July 10, Muslim herdsmen massacred 22 Christians — “mostly women and children” — and torched many homes in a farming community. “The Fulani came in and were shooting,” recalled Bilkisu James from her hospital bed. “They killed two of my children [and husband].” They also “hacked another five of Bilkisu’s relatives to death with machetes including a mother and her baby daughter and a mother and her two sons.”

A Muslim neighbor had apparently exposed the Christian family to his invading coreligionists: “Before I was shot,” Bilkisu continued, “I saw the Fulani man who is my neighbour, he even identified me. I surrendered to him on my knees” — to no avail. They shot her in the chest and back and left her for dead, even as she “heard them light the match and set the house on fire.”

The next day, a neighboring village was raided: “ten women, a baby and an elderly man were burnt to death in a house where they had taken refuge. Another seven villagers were injured and four houses burnt out.” On July 19, people attending a wedding celebration were among at least 32 Christians massacred in Fulani attacks.

In a separate “horrific night attack during a torrential rain storm on 23 July, at least seven Christians died… as militants brutally hacked unarmed men and women and children to death with machetes.” The report adds that “This was the second attack on the village within days, with seven murdered in an attack days earlier on 20 July.”

On July 29, Muslim herdsmen murdered another 14 Christians — 13 of whom belonged to one extended family. Only one member of the family remained alive; his wife, all his children, aunt, uncle, brother, and other relatives were slaughtered.

Most recently, armed jihadis stormed the Lion of Judah Church in Azikoro and opened fire on worshippers; four Christians were killed.

Listing more atrocities — there are hundreds through the years — is futile in one article. (For a comprehensive look at Christian suffering in Nigeria and other Muslim nations, see Gatestone’s monthly “Persecution of Christians” reports.)

For now, consider just the month of April, 2020:

  • Between April 1 and 2, machete-wielding Muslim herdsmen murdered at least 13 Christians: “[W]e woke up to bury seven people burnt to death… from an overnight attack,” one source said. Those killed “are mostly elderly Christians who were unable to escape as members of the community ran into surrounding bushes during the attack.”
  • On April 7, the Fulani herdsmen slaughtered a pastor and three members of his congregation, including a 10-year-old boy. The pastor, Matthew Tagwai, who was murdered in his home, is survived by a pregnant wife and two small children.
  • On April 10, the Islamic herdsmen murdered pastor Stephen Akpor, 55. “Two herdsmen came to a branch of our church, Celestial Church… where they shot him as he was praying and counseling five members in the church,” his colleagues said. “The herdsmen shot the pastor several times and then stabbed him to death.” He is survived by his wife and five children.
  • On April 11, Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot a Christian farmer dead.
  • On April 13, Muslim Fulani herdsmen decapitated two Christians, in a manner that required them to be “buried without their heads.”
  • On April 14, Muslim Fulani herdsmen butchered nine Christians, six of whom were children, one a pregnant mother. “They were armed with machetes and AK-47 rifles as they attacked us,” a survivor recalls: “They attacked our village at about 8 p.m., and they were shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ as they shot into our houses.” Thirty-three homes were set ablaze.
  • On April 16, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed Sebastine Stephen, a young Christian student. “The Fulani herdsmen were over 50 carrying sophisticated guns and shooting sporadically. After they killed the young man,” a survivor reported, “they then broke into the house of Mr. Jack Nweke and abducted him with his wife, leaving behind their three children.”
  • On April 19, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed four Christians. “Thirty-eight houses with 86 rooms were also razed down, while about 87 families are affected,” a source said.
  • On April 20, “A Christian farmer, Titus Nyitar, was shot to death, and his head was cut off,” an area resident said. Titus was “working on his farm when he was killed by the herdsmen.” Afterwards they “proceeded to the village to burn down houses and kidnapped three villagers.”
  • On April 22, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 12 Christians; earlier, the report notes, they kidnapped a couple as they were being married inside their church.
  • On April 23, the Fulani “killed two people, kidnapped another and burned down a church building that included the pastor’s home in attacks on predominantly Christian areas in north-central Nigeria.”

Aside from the most scandalous or spectacular incidents—such as the recent rape and slaughter of a Christian student sheltering in a church—the so-called mainstream media does not report on the bulk of the persecution (lest, perhaps, a pattern emerge, and the attacks seem more ideologically driven, as opposed to mere “crimes”).

“It is as if the lives of Christians no longer matter,” said a Nigerian pastor about the wedding attack that claimed 32 lives:

It is very disturbing that these daily onslaughts on Christians … have been going on far too long unattended by the Federal and State governments…. there are no sympathy visits to the remnant victims in the communities… There are no steps taken to alleviate their sufferings by providing relief materials to them since they have been made internally displaced persons in their thousands.

“I strongly believe,” said a survivor of a recent Fulani attack that claimed the life of his sister and four other Christians, “that some of these security personnel who are Muslims are conniving with these armed men to attack our people…. the sad reality is that our people have made representations to the government at both the state and federal levels and nothing has been done.”

“What is the crime of these innocent people against Fulani herdsmen?” another local asked concerning an attack that left a pastor and a 10-year-old child dead.

For how long shall we continue to experience this killing? For how long shall we continue to beg the government and the security agencies to come to the aid of our people?

Such questions are especially relevant in light of recently released statistics: Since 2009, “not less than 32,000 Christians have been butchered to death by the country’s main Jihadists” — with next nothing done about it, a May report found:

Militant Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram … have intensified their anti-Christian violence … with hacking to death in the past four months and half of 2020 of no fewer than 620 defenseless Christians [470 by Fulani herdsmen and 150 by Boko Haram], and wanton burning or destruction of their centers of worship and learning. The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists. Houses burnt or destroyed during the period are in their hundreds; likewise dozens of Christian worship and learning centers.

According to numerous Christian leaders in Nigeria, the reason formerly simple Fulani herdsmen have, since 2015, managed to kill nearly twice as many Christians as the “professional” terrorists of Boko Haram is “because President Buhari is also of the Fulani ethnic group,” to quote Nigerian bishop Matthew Ishaya Audu.

In a January statement, the Christian Association of Nigeria, an umbrella group representing most denominations, further accused “the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari” of “colluding” with the Islamic terrorists “to exterminate Christians in Nigeria.” The Association asked:

Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?

Some Nigerian leaders go beyond Buhari and blame “the evil called Barack Obama” — in the words of Femi Fani-Kayode, Nigeria’s former Minister of Culture and Tourism. On February 12, the former government official wrote the following on his Facebook account:

What Obama, John Kerry and Hilary Clinton did to Nigeria by funding and supporting [current president Muhammadu] Buhari in the 2015 presidential election and helping Boko Haram in 2014/2015 was sheer wickedness and the blood of all those killed by the Buhari administration, his Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram over the last 5 years are on their hands.

Although President Buhari’s fellow Fulanis have claimed the lion’s share of attacks on Christians since his presidency, Boko Haram — the original scourge of Christians in Nigeria — is still active. Earlier this year, for instance, it released a video of a masked Muslim child holding a pistol behind a bound and kneeling Christian hostage, a 22-year-old biology student who was earlier abducted while traveling to his university. After chanting in Arabic and launching into an anti-Christian diatribe, the Muslim child shot the Christian several times in the back of the head.

Weeks earlier, Islamic gunmen abducted Reverend Lawan Andimi, a pastor and district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. After the terrorists demanded an exorbitant ransom for his release — two million euros, which his church and family simply could not raise — they beheaded the married father-of-nine. Earlier, in a January 5 video that his abductors released, Pastor Lawan had said that he hoped to be reunited with his wife and children; however, “[i]f the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God. I want all people close and far, colleagues, to be patient. Don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything.”

The Nigerian government, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah said about the beheading of another 10 Christians earlier this year, is “using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam… The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is that Boko Haram is holding the bomb.”

Lead photo report

“32,000 Christians Butchered to Death”: The Persecution of Christians, May 2020

On May 8, 2020, a man tried to torch the Surp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church in Istanbul, which in previous years was repeatedly attacked with hate-filled graffiti, among other desecrations. (Image source: Vmenkov/Wikimedia Commons)

  • “The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists.” — The Nigerian Voice, May 14, 2020
  • Earlier this year, Christian Solidarity International issued a “Genocide Warning for Christians in Nigeria.”
  • “This [using a church as a personal toilet] is only the latest incident … [I]t has become extremely common for Greek Orthodox Churches to be vandalised and attacked by illegal immigrants on Lesvos…. As a deeply religious society, these attacks on churches are shocking to the Greek people and calls to question whether these illegal immigrants seeking a new life in Europe are willing to integrate and conform to the norms and values of their new countries.” — Greek City Times, May 16, 2020.

(Raymond Ibrahim) The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of May 2020:

The Slaughter of Christians

Nigeria: From January 2020 to mid-May 2020, Muslim terrorists massacred at least 620 Christians (470 by Fulani herdsmen and 150 by Boko Haram). According to a May 14 report:

“Militant Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram … have intensified their anti-Christian violence … with hacking to death in the past four months and half of 2020 of no fewer than 620 defenseless Christians, and wanton burning or destruction of their centers of worship and learning. The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists. Houses burnt or destroyed during the period are in their hundreds; likewise dozens of Christian worship and learning centers.”

The report further states that, since 2009, “not less than 32,000 Christians have been butchered to death by the country’s main Jihadists.”

Earlier this year, Christian Solidarity International issued a “Genocide Warning for Christians in Nigeria,” in response to the “rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants…” More recently, in a May statement, the Christian Rights Agenda, another human rights group, expressed concern for “the seeming silence of Nigeria’s President, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces has not only failed to protect the Christian communities but has remained silent over these killings. To date, no Fulani herdsmen have been arrested and prosecuted over the killings, a development that has helped to embolden them.” It is worth noting that Buhari himself is a Fulani Muslim.

Separately, the Muslim man who murdered Michael Nnadi, an 18-year-old seminarian at the Good Shepherd Seminary, confessed from his jail cell that he did so because the youth “continued preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ” to his captors. According to the May 3 report, “the first day Nnadi was kidnapped … he did not allow [Mustapha Mohammed, his murderer] to have peace” due to his relentless preaching of the Gospel. Mohammed “did not like the confidence displayed by the young man and decided to send him to an early grave.”

Democratic Republic of Congo: Muslim fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces, which earlier pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), murdered at least 17 people, possibly many more, in the Christian-majority (95%) African nation. “They fired several shots in the air,” a local said. “When the population was fleeing, they captured some people and cut them up with machetes.” In late 2019, the same group murdered a pastor after he refused to stop preaching and convert to Islam.

Attacks on Christian Churches, Cemeteries, and Crosses

Greece: Muslim migrants ransacked and transformed a church into their personal toilet. This public restroom was once the St. Catherine Church in Moria, a small town on the island of Lesvos, which has been flooded with migrants who arrived via Turkey. “The smell inside is unbearable,” said a local. “[T]he metropolitan of Mytilene is aware of the situation in the area, nevertheless, he does not wish to deal with it for his own reasons.” According to the report:

“This is only the latest incident … [I]t has become extremely common for Greek Orthodox Churches to be vandalised and attacked by illegal immigrants on Lesvos….

“As a deeply religious society, these attacks on churches are shocking to the Greek people and calls to question whether these illegal immigrants seeking a new life in Europe are willing to integrate and conform to the norms and values of their new countries.

“These continued attacks have ultimately seen the people of Lesvos, who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016, become increasingly frustrated by the unresolved situation that has restricted and changed their lives as they no longer feel safe on their once near crime-free island.”

Other incidents on Lesvos include “African immigrants ridiculing and coughing on police in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and thousands of olives trees being destroyed.”

Turkey: On May 8, a man tried to torch a church in Istanbul; the church had been attacked in the previous years, sometimes with hate-filled graffiti. When police detained the arsonist, he said “I burned it because they [Christians] brought the coronavirus [onto Turkey].” Discussing this incident, another report said that “Minorities in Turkey, such as Armenians, Rums and Syriacs [all Christians], as well as their places of worship, are occasionally targeted in hate attacks.”

Two weeks later, on May 22, in broad daylight, a man climbed the fence of a historic Armenian church in Istanbul and proceeded to yank off its metal cross and hurl it to the ground, as captured on surveillance footage. The man, who looks more like a Westernized “hipster” than an ardent Islamist, walks up to and stares at the cross for a while — he even looks at and strikes a pose for the security camera — before attacking the crucifix.

Pakistan: After Friday prayers on May 8, an armed Muslim mob shouting “anti-Christian slogans” attacked and tried to set fire to the Trinity Pentecostal Church in Hakeem Pura. Built 22 years ago, the church was desecrated, and a large cross and part of a wall broken. The Muslim man behind the attack had sold land to the growing church a year earlier, and now wanted it back. A Christian eyewitness said that the mob, “after attacking the walls and the cross, challenging anyone who dare oppose them, fled… Not only was the cross broken, but our hearts were crushed too.”

Separately, Muslim “land grabbers” seized, desecrated, and ploughed over the graves of a century-old Christian cemetery with a tractor. According to the May 22 report:

“The Christian community there reportedly protested against the violation and tried to stop the vandalism. However, they were allegedly threatened with guns… [A]ll graves that were destroyed had crosses fixed on the top… [S]ome of the houses occupied by the Christians were demolished and people were forced to flee from their homes. Amid widespread discrimination against the Christian community in Pakistan, the properties owned by the minorities are often subjected to injustice including land grabbing and being the target of criminals. Moreover, the economic disparities and religious bias in Pakistan’s judiciary have increased the struggles Christians face to recover the lost land.”

Serbia: On Sunday, May 31, two Muslim migrants entered the St. Alexander Nevsky Church in Belgrade during service and robbed several of the mostly elderly congregants. “There were two of them. They broke into the church during the liturgy, which was in progress, and they stole two purses along with three mobile phones,” a church leader said, adding:

“Upon entering the temple, they split up on two sides, and after the people saw what was happening, they managed to catch one of them and take away his mobile phones and the money he stole. The other managed to escape. He took two purses, in one there were 3,500 dinars, while in the other there were 18,000, which was the entire pension of one woman. We handed that young man over to the police, while the other managed to escape. This is an insult. Isn’t anything sacred to people, such as the liturgy? Terrible.”

Egypt: On May 30, 2020 — two days before President Trump recognized Global Coptic Day — Egyptian authorities demolished the only Coptic church in village of Koum al-Farag, even though it had stood for 15 years and served 3,000 Christians. According to the report:

“The destruction of the church was a punishment for the ‘crime’ of building rooms for Sunday school…. When the work began, some extremist Muslims began to attack Christians.”

A separate report on this incident relates:

“According to an ancient Islamic tradition, or common law, churches are prevented from being formally recognised or displaying any Christian symbols if a mosque is built next to them.”

The authorities decided to solve this issue by demolishing the church, which took a tractor “six long hours,” a Copt recalled:

“The decision was not welcomed by the Christians in the village, so they protested by appearing at the site in possession of the documents. However, the police and some radicals began to insult and assault Christians, including women and children. The church leader received so many punches in the face and chest that he passed out.”

In a separate attack in the early hours of May 16, “an air conditioning technician threw a Molotov cocktail inside the Virgin Mary Church in Alexandria.” According to the report:

“Security camera footage led to his apprehension. Fortunately, no one was injured in this attack. Predictably, however, the prosecutors appear to be [pursuing] an acquittal on the claim that the perpetrator of the religious hate crime is also mentally ill. Based on precedent, it is extremely unlikely that this perpetrator will face any consequences for his attempt to torch a church.”

Mozambique: Islamic terrorists attacked a monastery. The four monks residing in it managed to hide and emerge unscathed. However, the hospital they were building for a nearby village was destroyed by the armed Muslims. According to the May 18 report:

“Little is known about the insurgents, and until recently there were doubts they were actually islamists, but they have claimed to be fighting for the imposition of Sharia law in the North of Mozambique…. The attack on the monastery, which included the destruction of a hospital that the monks were building in the village, is the second most serious attack against a Christian target since the troubles began. Last month a Catholic mission was also attacked, although, as here, nobody was killed. Other communities have not been so lucky, as the insurgents have left a trail of death and destruction behind them in the towns and villages they attack.”

Nigeria: On May 7, a helicopter bombed and destroyed a church. The building was empty at the time; no casualties were reported. According to a local leader,

“The helicopter used to hover around the area, dropping some things. We don’t know what they have been dropping but yesterday in the afternoon, the helicopter came and dropped a bomb … [The] Assembly of God church was destroyed including a nearby building…. Hours after the incident, a group of people numbering about 100 pass through the village carrying guns. Some were trekking while others rode on motorcycles. One of them was carrying a flag which is not a Nigerian flag; one other person was making some incantations in Arabic… People have fled the village… The question is who was in the helicopter dropping bomb?… We are very concerned … If it was a mistake by security agencies, they should come out and explain so as to allay the fears of the community.”

Algeria: Four Muslim guards responsible for protecting a church vandalized and overturned its statue of the Virgin Mary. According to the report,

“[T]he chapel of Santa Cruz built in stones extracted from the mountain of Murdjadjo where it is perched, was the object of an attempted theft… Four looters allegedly destroyed the statue of the Virgin Mary by attempting to steal it. They have even destroyed other holy monuments in their path….

It was later found, however, that the chapel’s four hired guards were themselves the “looters” responsible for the desecration. The report continues:

“In addition, the Christian community in Algeria denounces… the intimidation which the faithful are subject to. Many Christians have denounced the series of closings of churches in the national territory. Several evangelical associations and organizations have called for an end to ‘the increasing pressure and intimidation from the Algerian government.'”

Iran: On Sunday, May 17, a Christian cemetery was set ablaze, just two days after the tomb of the biblical Esther and Mordecai was also set on fire on the 72nd anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel. Damage at the tomb — a holy site shared by Jews and Christians — was reportedly minimal. Few other details concerning the burned Christian cemetery aside from video footage showing smoke billowing over its walls are available. A Hindu temple was also reportedly set on fire in May.

France: Unknown vandals cut down an iconic iron cross that had stood on the summit of Pic Saint-Loup since 1911 and was visible for miles around. According to the May 14 report,

“While Europe has experienced a growing number of acts of vandalism and profanation of Christian sites, the greatest number of such acts have occurred in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries, and monuments ‘are being vandalized, desecrated, and burned at an average rate of three per day,’ according to reports drawing from government statistics.”

Although the identity of the vandals responsible for this latest outrage is unknown, it appears that Western European nations that have large Muslim migrant populations are seeing a disproportionate rise in attacks on churches and Christian symbols. According to a 2017 study on France — which has the largest Muslim population in Europe — “Islamist extremist attacks on Christians” rose by 38%, going from 273 attacks in 2015 to 376 in 2016; the majority occurred during Christmas season and “many of the attacks took place in churches and other places of worship.” Similarly, around Christmas 2016, in a German region where more than a million Muslims reside, some 50 public Christian statues (including those of Jesus) were beheaded and crucifixes broken.

Abduction, Rape, and Forced Conversion of Christian Women

Nigeria: Between March 23 and April 30, six young Christian girls and one older married woman were kidnapped. “We are saddened to report to you the battles we have been fighting even amidst the lockdown,” the Hausa Christians Foundation reported on May 4, adding that it “has been working on the following tragic incidences of abduction and forceful Islamization, despite the fact that the lockdown has limited our efforts.” The statement continues:

“The usual practice is that these girls will be forced into marriage and perpetually be abused sexually, physical and emotionally. We are doing our best to rescue these precious lives but our efforts have been truncated by the current government imposed lockdown that has put everything on hold…. The simple reason for the injustice and the persecution we have been subjected to… is because of our faith in Christ Jesus.”

Two of the young girls have since been rescued.

Pakistan: Another young Christian girl was kidnapped. According to a May 2 report,

“On Sunday, April 26, a 14-year-old Christian girl … was abducted by a group of armed Muslim men… [T]he Christian girl’s family has filed a police report and is begging police to recover their relative…. Myra Shehbaz was abducted by a group of Muslim men led by Muhammad Naqash. Eye witnesses claim that Myra was attacked while she was traveling to her workplace as a domestic worker on Sunday afternoon…. Myra’s abductors forced her into a car and Myra tried to resist…. [The] abductors were armed and fired several shots into the air…. [The girl’s mother] fears her daughter will be raped, forcefully converted is [sic] Islam, or even killed…. [A]n estimated 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian community are assaulted, abducted, forcefully married to their captor, and forcibly converted to Islam every year.”

Egypt: In a May 22 report, Coptic Solidarity, a human rights organization focused on the plight of Egypt’s Christians, made the following remarks:

“The indigenous Coptic Christians of Egypt continue to experience increasing persecution, by the government and society…. To illustrate, at least five Coptic women, including some minors, have reportedly been kidnapped or disappeared in just the last few weeks, and Egyptian state security has made no concerted effort to recover them…. Ranya Abd al-Masih, a Coptic wife and mother of three from a town just north of the capital, Cairo… remains hidden despite protests, including from the region’s church, which laments ‘the total lack of reaction by the authorities.'”

Hate for and Abuse of Christians

Austria: A local newspaper reported:

“A graffiti that rightly causes a lot of agitation. The lettering “Christians must die” can be seen at the Traisen-Markt train station. Above it, in the same style, the words “Allach Akkbar” [sic]. The removal of the graffiti has already begun and will cost about 500 Euros.”

Uganda: A Muslim father burned his daughter for converting to Christianity. While traveling with her father, a sheikh (respected elder) of the Muslim community, Rehema Kyomuhendo, 24, heard the gospel and secretly converted. On the night of May 4, while she and her father were staying at her aunt’s home, she called a Christian associate: “As she was sharing Christ with me, I was so overjoyed,” Rehema later explained, “and my father heard my joy and woke up, came from his bedroom furiously and started beating me up with blows, slaps and kicks.” He also shouted that he was “going to kill her.” He broke a gas container, lit the pieces with the unspilt fuel, and began to burn his daughter. Her cries awakened her aunt, who protected her from the sheikh. Last reported, Rehema was expected to need more than a month of hospitalization due to “serious burns on her leg, stomach, rib area, near her neck and on part of her back.” No one has “reported the assault to police for fear that her father might try kill her.”

Pakistan: In another example of abuse of Christians, this time in connection to COVID-19, “an Islamic cleric claims his organization is using COVID-19 food aid to convert non-Muslims to Islam,” according to a May 8 report. Speaking on Pakistani television, the cleric boasted of how when a destitute Christian man came for aid, the “staff of the organization offered him conversion against food which he accepted.” The man was subsequently renamed Muhammad Ramadan, signifying his conversion had occurred during the Muslim holy month. The cleric had added that Muhammad was then fasting (which is ironic considering hunger is what prompted him to convert in the first place).

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the recent book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.

“32,000 Christians Butchered to Death”: Muslim Persecution of Christians, May 2020

The iconic iron cross that had stood on the summit of Pic Saint-Loup, France, since 1911.

The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of May 2020:

The Slaughter of Christians

Nigeria: From January 2020 to mid-May 2020, Muslim terrorists massacred at least 620 Christians (470 by Fulani herdsmen and 150 by Boko Haram). According to a May 14 report:

Militant Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram … have intensified their anti-Christian violence … with hacking to death in the past four months and half of 2020 of no fewer than 620 defenseless Christians, and wanton burning or destruction of their centers of worship and learning. The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists. Houses burnt or destroyed during the period are in their hundreds; likewise dozens of Christian worship and learning centers.

The report further states that, since 2009, “not less than 32,000 Christians have been butchered to death by the country’s main Jihadists.”

Earlier this year, Christian Solidarity International issued a “Genocide Warning for Christians in Nigeria,” in response to the “rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants…” More recently, in a May statement, the Christian Rights Agenda, another human rights group, expressed concern for “the seeming silence of Nigeria’s President, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces has not only failed to protect the Christian communities but has remained silent over these killings. To date, no Fulani herdsmen have been arrested and prosecuted over the killings, a development that has helped to embolden them.” It is worth noting that Buhari himself is a Fulani Muslim.

Separately, the Muslim man who murdered Michael Nnadi, an 18-year-old seminarian at the Good Shepherd Seminary, confessed from his jail cell that he did so because the youth “continued preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ” to his captors. According to the May 3 report, “the first day Nnadi was kidnapped … he did not allow [Mustapha Mohammed, his murderer] to have peace” due to his relentless preaching of the Gospel. Mohammed “did not like the confidence displayed by the young man and decided to send him to an early grave.”

Democratic Republic of Congo: Muslim fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces, which earlier pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), murdered at least 17 people, possibly many more, in the Christian-majority (95%) African nation. “They fired several shots in the air,” a local said. “When the population was fleeing, they captured some people and cut them up with machetes.” In late 2019, the same group murdered a pastor after he refused to stop preaching and convert to Islam.

Attacks on Christian Churches, Cemeteries, and Crosses

Greece: Muslim migrants ransacked and transformed a church into their personal toilet. This public restroom was once the St. Catherine Church in Moria, a small town on the island of Lesvos, which has been flooded with migrants who arrived via Turkey. “The smell inside is unbearable,” said a local. “[T]he metropolitan of Mytilene is aware of the situation in the area, nevertheless, he does not wish to deal with it for his own reasons.” According to the report:

This is only the latest incident … [I]t has become extremely common for Greek Orthodox Churches to be vandalised and attacked by illegal immigrants on Lesvos….

As a deeply religious society, these attacks on churches are shocking to the Greek people and calls to question whether these illegal immigrants seeking a new life in Europe are willing to integrate and conform to the norms and values of their new countries.

These continued attacks have ultimately seen the people of Lesvos, who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016, become increasingly frustrated by the unresolved situation that has restricted and changed their lives as they no longer feel safe on their once near crime-free island.

Other incidents on Lesvos include “African immigrants ridiculing and coughing on police in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and thousands of olives trees being destroyed.”

St. Catherine’s in Lesvos, now a Muslim toilet.

Turkey: On May 8, a man tried to torch a church in Istanbul; the church had been attacked in the previous years, sometimes with hate-filled graffiti. When police detained the arsonist, he said “I burned it because they [Christians] brought the coronavirus [onto Turkey].” Discussing this incident, another report said that “Minorities in Turkey, such as Armenians, Rums and Syriacs [all Christians], as well as their places of worship, are occasionally targeted in hate attacks.”

Two weeks later, on May 22, in broad daylight, a man climbed the fence of a historic Armenian church in Istanbul and proceeded to yank off its metal cross and hurl it to the ground, as captured on surveillance footage. The man, who looks more like a Westernized “hipster” than an ardent Islamist, walks up to and stares at the cross for a while — he even looks at and strikes a pose for the security camera — before attacking the crucifix.

Pakistan: After Friday prayers on May 8, an armed Muslim mob shouting “anti-Christian slogans” attacked and tried to set fire to the Trinity Pentecostal Church in Hakeem Pura. Built 22 years ago, the church was desecrated, and a large cross and part of a wall broken. The Muslim man behind the attack had sold land to the growing church a year earlier, and now wanted it back. A Christian eyewitness said that the mob, “after attacking the walls and the cross, challenging anyone who dare oppose them, fled… Not only was the cross broken, but our hearts were crushed too.”

Separately, Muslim “land grabbers” seized, desecrated, and ploughed over the graves of a century-old Christian cemetery with a tractor. According to the May 22 report:

The Christian community there reportedly protested against the violation and tried to stop the vandalism. However, they were allegedly threatened with guns… [A]ll graves that were destroyed had crosses fixed on the top… [S]ome of the houses occupied by the Christians were demolished and people were forced to flee from their homes. Amid widespread discrimination against the Christian community in Pakistan, the properties owned by the minorities are often subjected to injustice including land grabbing and being the target of criminals. Moreover, the economic disparities and religious bias in Pakistan’s judiciary have increased the struggles Christians face to recover the lost land.

Serbia: On Sunday, May 31, two Muslim migrants entered the St. Alexander Nevsky Church in Belgrade during service and robbed several of the mostly elderly congregants. “There were two of them. They broke into the church during the liturgy, which was in progress, and they stole two purses along with three mobile phones,” a church leader said, adding:

Upon entering the temple, they split up on two sides, and after the people saw what was happening, they managed to catch one of them and take away his mobile phones and the money he stole. The other managed to escape. He took two purses, in one there were 3,500 dinars, while in the other there were 18,000, which was the entire pension of one woman. We handed that young man over to the police, while the other managed to escape. This is an insult. Isn’t anything sacred to people, such as the liturgy? Terrible.

Egypt: On May 30, 2020 — two days before President Trump recognized Global Coptic Day — Egyptian authorities demolished the only Coptic church in village of Koum al-Farag, even though it had stood for 15 years and served 3,000 Christians. According to the report:

The destruction of the church was a punishment for the ‘crime’ of building rooms for Sunday school…. When the work began, some extremist Muslims began to attack Christians.

A separate report on this incident relates:

According to an ancient Islamic tradition, or common law, churches are prevented from being formally recognised or displaying any Christian symbols if a mosque is built next to them.

The authorities decided to solve this issue by demolishing the church, which took a tractor “six long hours,” a Copt recalled:

The decision was not welcomed by the Christians in the village, so they protested by appearing at the site in possession of the documents. However, the police and some radicals began to insult and assault Christians, including women and children. The church leader received so many punches in the face and chest that he passed out.

In a separate attack in the early hours of May 16, “an air conditioning technician threw a Molotov cocktail inside the Virgin Mary Church in Alexandria.” According to the report:

Security camera footage led to his apprehension. Fortunately, no one was injured in this attack. Predictably, however, the prosecutors appear to be [pursuing] an acquittal on the claim that the perpetrator of the religious hate crime is also mentally ill. Based on precedent, it is extremely unlikely that this perpetrator will face any consequences for his attempt to torch a church.

Mozambique: Islamic terrorists attacked a monastery. The four monks residing in it managed to hide and emerge unscathed. However, the hospital they were building for a nearby village was destroyed by the armed Muslims. According to the May 18 report:

Little is known about the insurgents, and until recently there were doubts they were actually islamists, but they have claimed to be fighting for the imposition of Sharia law in the North of Mozambique…. The attack on the monastery, which included the destruction of a hospital that the monks were building in the village, is the second most serious attack against a Christian target since the troubles began. Last month a Catholic mission was also attacked, although, as here, nobody was killed. Other communities have not been so lucky, as the insurgents have left a trail of death and destruction behind them in the towns and villages they attack.

Nigeria: On May 7, a helicopter bombed and destroyed a church. The building was empty at the time; no casualties were reported. According to a local leader,

The helicopter used to hover around the area, dropping some things. We don’t know what they have been dropping but yesterday in the afternoon, the helicopter came and dropped a bomb … [The] Assembly of God church was destroyed including a nearby building…. Hours after the incident, a group of people numbering about 100 pass through the village carrying guns. Some were trekking while others rode on motorcycles. One of them was carrying a flag which is not a Nigerian flag; one other person was making some incantations in Arabic… People have fled the village… The question is who was in the helicopter dropping bomb?… We are very concerned … If it was a mistake by security agencies, they should come out and explain so as to allay the fears of the community.

Algeria: Four Muslim guards responsible for protecting a church vandalized and overturned its statue of the Virgin Mary. According to the report,

[T]he chapel of Santa Cruz built in stones extracted from the mountain of Murdjadjo where it is perched, was the object of an attempted theft… Four looters allegedly destroyed the statue of the Virgin Mary by attempting to steal it. They have even destroyed other holy monuments in their path….

It was later found, however, that the chapel’s four hired guards were themselves the “looters” responsible for the desecration. The report continues:

In addition, the Christian community in Algeria denounces… the intimidation which the faithful are subject to. Many Christians have denounced the series of closings of churches in the national territory. Several evangelical associations and organizations have called for an end to “the increasing pressure and intimidation from the Algerian government.”

Iran: On Sunday, May 17, a Christian cemetery was set ablaze, just two days after the tomb of the biblical Esther and Mordecai was also set on fire on the 72nd anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel. Damage at the tomb — a holy site shared by Jews and Christians — was reportedly minimal. Few other details concerning the burned Christian cemetery aside from video footage showing smoke billowing over its walls are available. A Hindu temple was also reportedly set on fire in May.

France: Unknown vandals cut down an iconic iron cross that had stood on the summit of Pic Saint-Loup since 1911 and was visible for miles around. According to the May 14 report,

While Europe has experienced a growing number of acts of vandalism and profanation of Christian sites, the greatest number of such acts have occurred in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries, and monuments “are being vandalized, desecrated, and burned at an average rate of three per day,” according to reports drawing from government statistics.

Although the identity of the vandals responsible for this latest outrage is unknown, it appears that Western European nations that have large Muslim migrant populations are seeing a disproportionate rise in attacks on churches and Christian symbols. According to a 2017 study on France — which has the largest Muslim population in Europe — “Islamist extremist attacks on Christians” rose by 38%, going from 273 attacks in 2015 to 376 in 2016; the majority occurred during Christmas season and “many of the attacks took place in churches and other places of worship.” Similarly, around Christmas 2016, in a German region where more than a million Muslims reside, some 50 public Christian statues (including those of Jesus) were beheaded and crucifixes broken.

Abduction, Rape, and Forced Conversion of Christian Women

Nigeria: Between March 23 and April 30, six young Christian girls and one older married woman were kidnapped. “We are saddened to report to you the battles we have been fighting even amidst the lockdown,” the Hausa Christians Foundation reported on May 4, adding that it “has been working on the following tragic incidences of abduction and forceful Islamization, despite the fact that the lockdown has limited our efforts.” The statement continues:

The usual practice is that these girls will be forced into marriage and perpetually be abused sexually, physical and emotionally. We are doing our best to rescue these precious lives but our efforts have been truncated by the current government imposed lockdown that has put everything on hold…. The simple reason for the injustice and the persecution we have been subjected to… is because of our faith in Christ Jesus.

Two of the young girls have since been rescued.

Pakistan: Another young Christian girl was kidnapped. According to a May 2 report,

On Sunday, April 26, a 14-year-old Christian girl … was abducted by a group of armed Muslim men… [T]he Christian girl’s family has filed a police report and is begging police to recover their relative…. Myra Shehbaz was abducted by a group of Muslim men led by Muhammad Naqash. Eye witnesses claim that Myra was attacked while she was traveling to her workplace as a domestic worker on Sunday afternoon…. Myra’s abductors forced her into a car and Myra tried to resist…. [The] abductors were armed and fired several shots into the air…. [The girl’s mother] fears her daughter will be raped, forcefully converted is [sic] Islam, or even killed…. [A]n estimated 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian community are assaulted, abducted, forcefully married to their captor, and forcibly converted to Islam every year.

Egypt: In a May 22 report, Coptic Solidarity, a human rights organization focused on the plight of Egypt’s Christians, made the following remarks:

The indigenous Coptic Christians of Egypt continue to experience increasing persecution, by the government and society…. To illustrate, at least five Coptic women, including some minors, have reportedly been kidnapped or disappeared in just the last few weeks, and Egyptian state security has made no concerted effort to recover them…. Ranya Abd al-Masih, a Coptic wife and mother of three from a town just north of the capital, Cairo… remains hidden despite protests, including from the region’s church, which laments “the total lack of reaction by the authorities.”

Hate for and Abuse of Christians

Austria: A local newspaper reported:

A graffiti that rightly causes a lot of agitation. The lettering “Christians must die” can be seen at the Traisen-Markt train station. Above it, in the same style, the words “Allach Akkbar” [sic]. The removal of the graffiti has already begun and will cost about 500 Euros.

Uganda: A Muslim father burned his daughter for converting to Christianity. While traveling with her father, a sheikh (respected elder) of the Muslim community, Rehema Kyomuhendo, 24, heard the gospel and secretly converted. On the night of May 4, while she and her father were staying at her aunt’s home, she called a Christian associate: “As she was sharing Christ with me, I was so overjoyed,” Rehema later explained, “and my father heard my joy and woke up, came from his bedroom furiously and started beating me up with blows, slaps and kicks.” He also shouted that he was “going to kill her.” He broke a gas container, lit the pieces with the unspilt fuel, and began to burn his daughter. Her cries awakened her aunt, who protected her from the sheikh. Last reported, Rehema was expected to need more than a month of hospitalization due to “serious burns on her leg, stomach, rib area, near her neck and on part of her back.” No one has “reported the assault to police for fear that her father might try kill her.”

Pakistan: In another example of abuse of Christians in connection to COVID-19, “an Islamic cleric claims his organization is using COVID-19 food aid to convert non-Muslims to Islam,” according to a May 8 report. Speaking on Pakistani television, the cleric boasted of how when a destitute Christian man came for aid, the “staff of the organization offered him conversion against food which he accepted.” The man was subsequently renamed Muhammad Ramadan, signifying his conversion had occurred during the Muslim holy month. The cleric had added that Muhammad was then fasting (which is ironic considering hunger is what prompted him to convert in the first place).

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed in 2011 to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that occur or are reported each month. It serves two purposes:

1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam;  theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

By Raymond Ibrahim crossposted on Gatestone Institute

Ibrahim’s writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications. He is theauthor of the recent book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Heinous Attacks Against Christians in Nigeria under-reported

The coronavirus affecting Nigeria is dominating the headlines which has pushed news reports of Christians being slaughtered by Islamists even further to the back burner.

 April 16 – A Christian student was killed in an attack by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Kaduna state on Thursday night (April 16), a week after a pastor was slain at his church building residence in southern Nigeria, sources said. According to area residents, After his college in northwest Nigeria was closed due to the coronavirus, Sebastine Stephen was visiting his home in a suburb of the city of Kaduna, when armed Fulani attacked at about 11:30 p.m. , reported Morning Star News.

“Sebastine Stephen was shot when the armed Fulani herdsmen attacked Gbagyi Villa area in Chikun Local Government Area in the southern end of the city of Kaduna,” area resident Hosea Yusuf told Morning Star News. “Stephen raised alarm, warning residents about the invasion of our community as he was still outside at the time the herdsmen came to attack the community. The herdsmen instantly shot him and then proceeded to enter one of the houses close to them, where they kidnapped a couple.”

“The Fulani herdsmen were over 50 carrying sophisticated guns and shooting sporadically,” Chris Obodumu told Morning Star News. “After they killed the young man, Sebastine Stephen, they then broke into the house of Mr. Jack Nweke and abducted him with his wife, leaving behind their three children.” He said he feared the herdsmen may return to attack again. Gbagyi Villa community leader Martins Emmanuel said the herdsmen simultaneously attacked both Gbagyi Villa and the nearby area of Mararaban Rido.

April 14 – Six children and a pregnant woman were among nine people that Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed in north-central Nigeria 0n April 14, sources said.

About a dozen herdsmen armed with rifles and machetes raided Hura-Maiyanga village, in the Miango area of Kwall District in Plateau state’s Bassa County, shouting the jihadist slogan “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” sources said.

“They were armed with machetes and AK-47 rifles as they attacked us,” Hanatu John, a woman who survived the attack, told Morning Star News. “They attacked our village at about 8 p.m., and they were shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ as they shot into our houses.” The assailants were speaking Fulfulde, the Fulani language, as they shot into homes, she said.

“Most families had already retired into houses to sleep when these Fulani gunmen came into the village and were shooting into houses. As the herdsmen shot at us, we all ran out from our houses into the surrounding bushes. Some of the herdsmen chased after us and shot at us, while others were burning down our houses.”

“Hura hamlet of Maiyanga village in Kwall District, Miango Chiefdom in Bassa Local Government Area, Plateau state was invaded on the night of 14th by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen, who surrounded the entire area and unleashed mayhem on the unsuspecting natives,” Mwantiri told Morning Star News by text message. “As a result, nine persons were gruesomely killed and two injured while 33 houses were completely torched by fire. Most of the persons killed were children.”

The ages of the children were 3, 6, two were 7, 15 and an unborn baby.  Over 250 persons, mostly women and children, have been displaced.

Miango resident Grace Gye sent a message to the Plateau state government on April 15, calling on state and federal governments “to protect the people and their property.” She questioned why Fulani herdsmen were moving about freely in spite of a lockdown in the face of the novel coronavirus.

The Rev. Ronku Aka, a former Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) pastor and now community leader of the Irigwe ethnic group, lamented incessant attacks on predominantly Christian communities.

“So many of my people have been killed over the years, including the attack of last night, In spite of promises from the government to my people, the herdsmen have continuously been attacking our communities.”

“I am begging the international community to come to the aid of our people! this killing is too much,” Aka told Zenger. “More than the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the Fulanis are killing my people. Despite the lockdown,” Aka told Zenger News.

The attack on Maiyanga comes on the heels of attacks by herdsmen in the area last month. On March 31, Christians were killed at Ancha village; the next day three more Christians were slain in the predominantly Christian community of Nkiedow-hro village, and seven others were killed in Hukke village. On Jan. 14, 2018, armed herdsmen killed one Christian and wounded two others in an attack on Maiyanga village.

There is also a report shared on April 16 of Moses Gata, a resident from a targeted village, being abused by authorities after he criticized Nigerian police and military for withdrawing from a region where Muslim militants have killed at least 20 Christians.

“I blamed the security for withdrawal of soldiers at the checkpoints and hence the attacks when it was barely a week after the withdrawal,” Gata told Zenger News, explaining why he may have been targeted for retaliation.

“I also complained about the government inability to set up programs such as bringing relief materials to homeless people, rehabilitation program, resettlement program, reconstruction program of any sorts,” he said.

He claimed the captain told him, ’You’re going to respect the uniform from now on, aren’t you, little boy!’ as he hosed me down from head to toe in ice cold water.”  Gata said he was ordered to roll back and forth on the concrete porch of a temporary army barrack for close to two hours until he was rescued by an elected official who had heard from family about his predicament.

April 13 – Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria decapitated two Christians in Benue state.

According to residents, herdsmen ambushed two members of a Catholic church in  Ologba village at about 8 a.m. on Monday. “Oche Alaade and his friend who had visited the village were traveling out of the village on their way back to Obagaji town where they reside when they were ambushed by the Fulani herdsmen and their heads cut off,” area resident Louis Oguche told Morning Star News in a text message. Oyaje Sule, uncle of Oche Alaade, confirmed the killings in a statement issued to local press on Monday evening. The murders follow a herdsmen attack on two Christians the previous week who are receiving hospital treatment for their wounds, Sule said. Agatu, a predominantly Christian area in the north-central state of Benue, has been under siege by herdsmen in the past four years, with many Christians killed and displaced.

April 11 – A group of herdsmen in Plateau state on shot a Christian farmer dead.

Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 30-year-old Christian farmer Mabur Mallo Gwang in Maiduna village, Daffo District of Bokkos County, area residents said. Armed with guns and machetes, four armed herdsmen forced their way into the victim’s house attacked him. Neighbors fled into the nearby bushes when they heard the gunshots, The victim was a member of the local Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) congregation. Yusuf Machen, chairman of the Bokkos Local Government Council, confirmed the attack when contacted by Morning Star News. “We are deeply saddened about such incessant attacks on the communities in Bokkos Local Government Area,” Machen said.

Herdsmen have attacked Christian communities in Bokkos County over the past three years, as well as Christians in the counties of Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Jos South, Mangu and Riyom, residents told Morning Star News. In the Daffo area in the past two years, more than 40 Christians have been killed, 11 communities destroyed and more than 7,000 people displaced, they said.

April 10 – In southern Nigeria’s Delta state, church members identified two armed men who came to the church building the night of April 10 and shot and stabbed pastor Stephen Akpor as Fulani herdsmen. He was 55.

Pastor Akpor, whose residence was on the church premises, was praying and counseling members of his church in Ibusa at about 8:30 p.m. at Breakthrough Cathedral, a local fellowship of the Celestial Church of Christ, church leaders told Morning Star News via text messages. “Two herdsmen came to a branch of our church, Celestial Church at Ibusa in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta state, where they shot him as he was praying and counseling five members in the church,” a senior leader of the church, Isaiah George, church, told Morning Star News.

Pastor Akpor reportedly retreated to his room before the assailants shot him through a window. The pastor’s wife was inside the building at the time, but she and the other church members escaped unhurt, George said. “The herdsmen shot the pastor several times and then stabbed him to death,” he said.

Another church leader, Peter Lotobi, said he received a phone call at the time of the herdsmen attack and immediately contacted police. “By the time the police got to the church, the herdsmen had already killed the pastor and retreated from the church premises,” Lotobi told Morning Star News. “His corpse was removed and taken by the police to the mortuary of General Hospital, Ibusa.” Pastor Akpor reportedly is survived by five children along with his wife.

Attacks by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen, most of them in the north-central part of the country, have drifted to southern Nigerian states as far back as 2016. Recently Muslim Fulani herdsmen in southern communities have reportedly taken over farmlands.

March 22 – Herdsmen attacked Div-Nzaav village in Kwande County as Christians were about to begin worship in the village church. “The Fulanis attacked us on Sunday; they shot and killed Tarfa Simon, while Ngusonon Kighir, a woman and member of our community, was cut with a machete,” Amande said in a text message to Morning Star News.

The attacked members of the Universal Reformed Christian Church (Nongu u Kristu u i Ser u sha Tar, or NKST) who escaped fled to Jato-Aka village, he added. “The herdsmen also kidnapped two Christian women from the village who were rescued a few days after the attack,” Amande said. “These attacks against us by the herdsmen have become incessant for several years.”

March 5 – Herdsmen also attacked Mbanyiar village in Guma County at about 2 a.m., residents said. Oliver Tyoor Chado of Mbanyiar said the herdsmen kidnapped his wife and destroyed houses, food and animals belonging to Christians.

“The herdsmen, who were about a dozen, were armed with AK-47 rifles,” Chado told Morning Star News. “My wife and two other members of our village were kidnapped and taken away by the herdsmen; but they were eventually rescued by security agents after they were tortured by the herdsmen.” He said displaced Christians have fled to Daudu town.

March 6 – In Guma County, seven NKST members were killed when Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked villagers at a funeral wake in Chongu village, sources said. Chongu resident Zaki Usuah he and others were holding a wake at about 11 p.m. when the Fulani herdsmen attacked. “The wake was for one of our deceased elders in our church, NKST church, who was to be buried the following morning at Chongu,” Usuah said. “Suddenly we heard sounds of gun shots all around us. Those killed in the attack include Chikwa, Taza Abuur, Tarnum Yanum and four others.”

March 3 – In Abaji village three weeks earlier, also in Kwande County, armed herdsmen stormed the area in droves, residents said. They attacked at about 10 a.m on March 3, according to area resident Aloysius Yaga.

“Eight of our people were killed, and six others were kidnapped by the herdsmen during the attack,” Yaga told Morning Star News by text message. “The herdsmen shot indiscriminately at us and injured many others through machete cuts. I narrowly escaped being killed.”

March 2 – In northwestern Nigeria, Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Niger state on March 24 killed at least 20 people in two predominantly Christian villages and on March 2 kidnapped eight Christians in raids on a mission station, sources said.

The attacks on the villages of Galkogo and Zumba, killing more than 20 people, displaced 3,000 people, area residents told Morning Star News.

In Niger state’s Shiroro County, Fulani herdsmen raided a school in Maruba run by Calvary Ministries (CAPRO), kidnapping four missionaries, two volunteer staff members, another staff member and one student, according to Niyi Gbade, the ministry’s national director. Ask God to release them unharmed now,” Gbade told Morning Star News in a text message. The school’s head teacher was shot and received hospital treatment, he said. “Pray for the remaining missionaries on the base, that they will not be kidnapped, and that those being held should be released from any form of captivity,” Gbade said.

Herdsmen also raided Global Glorious Mission in Gofa, Shiroro County, on March 22, forcing missionaries and students to flee into bushes, according to a mission press statement last month. “The Fulani herdsmen entered, ransacked and looted our Gofa field of Shiroro LGA, Niger and environs,” the statement read. “Some of the brethren have gone back in the night, and some returning this morning. Please stand with us in prayer for God’s intervention over this menace.”

In the past year, armed Fulani herdsmen have carried out a series of raids on Christian communities in the northwest, sending people fleeing to camps for the displaced.

On Jan. 30, (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. The warning was issued in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’

Dr. Samson Ayokunle, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President said, “Christians have become an endangered species in their own country. “Nigeria is under a siege orchestrated by the murderous bloodthirsty and criminally-minded Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani terrorist herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers.” He also called the government to account for its inaction in the face of the escalating conflict and the culture of impunity in Nigeria.

sources here, here and here

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.

Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria Kill More than 60 Christians in Five Weeks, Sources say

 

Plateau state, Nigeria. (Uwe Dedering, Wikipedia)

“At a time when the entire human race is sober and seeking God in prayers against COVID-19, killer herdsmen are showing no sense of fear of God nor value for human life.”

(Morning Star News) – Weeks after human rights group Christian Solidarity International warned of impending genocide in Nigeria, Muslim Fulani herdsmen since March 1 have killed more than 60 Christians, including at least 13 Christians last week in Plateau state, sources said.

Following a rash of attacks by herdsmen and Islamic extremist groups in Nigeria the first three months of the year, Fulani herdsmen on Wednesday (April 1) killed seven Christians in Bassa County’s Hukke village, Miango District at about 7 p.m., area resident Patience Moses said.

“Those killed in Hukke village are mostly elderly Christians who were unable to escape as members of the community ran into surrounding bushes during the attack,” Moses told Morning Star News.

Killed were Izinpa Muntu, 72; Madah Imeh, 80; Jummai Geye, 78; Gado Muntu, 67; Mary Alhassan, 70; Gado Nguni, 90; and Rigwe Muntu, 84, according to Moses.

She said the assailants burned 24 houses in the village.

“On the same day and time, Nkiedoro village too was attacked by the herdsmen,” she said. “The Christian villagers escaped unhurt, but 15 houses were burned by the herdsmen.”

The herdsmen also attacked Ancha village on Wednesday (April 1), killing three Christians, and on Tuesday night (March 31) attacked Rosu village in the same area, where another three Christians lost their lives, Moses said. All those slain in the villages were members of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) or Baptist churches, she said.

Herdsmen also wounded three others in Rosu village and destroyed 11 houses, Moses said.

Christian community leader Sunday Abdu confirmed the killing of the three Christians in Ancha village. Abdu, president of the Irigwe Development Association, said in a press statement from Jos that Fulani herdsmen killed them.

“While our people have continued to remain indoors and law-abiding in the wake of the national outcry over the coronavirus, the assailant Fulani herdsmen have continued each day within the last two weeks to visit us with mayhem,” Abdu said. “On Wednesday, April 1, in Ancha, one of our troubled communities was visited once more in an attack that left three people dead and various houses razed. On Thursday, April 2, we woke up to bury seven people burnt to death in Hukke from an overnight attack.”

Ancha had been attacked by Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Sept. 7, 2017, when 27 Christians were killed, he said.

Christian community leaders say more than 500 Christians have been killed in the area in the past five years. Istifanus Gyang, a member of Nigeria’s parliament, the National Assembly, expressed sadness over last week’s attacks.

“It is sad and disturbing that while all nations, Nigeria inclusive, are battling to overcome the plague of coronavirus, killer herdsmen are still in the habit of attacking helpless communities of Plateau North Senatorial District,” Gyang, deputy chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense, said in a statement. “At a time when the entire human race is sober and seeking God in prayers against COVID-19, killer herdsmen are showing no sense of fear of God nor value for human life.”

Genocide

The killings follow March attacks in which herdsmen killed 50 Christians in Plateau, Benu and Kaduna states, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law reported in a statement from Onitsha, Anambra state.

In a statement issued from Zurich, Switzerland on Jan. 30, (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria as it called on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action.

CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”

“The conditions for genocide exist in Nigeria, with Christians, non-violent Muslims, and adherents of tribal religions being particularly vulnerable,” John Eibner, chairman of CSI’s International Management, said in a statement. “The increasingly violent attacks and the failure of the Nigerian government to prevent them and punish the perpetrators are alarming. CSI therefore calls on the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to take swift action to uphold this commitment to genocide prevention in Nigeria.”

At least 1,000 Christians in Nigeria are reported to have been killed by Islamist militias over the past year, with 6,000 murdered since 2015, according to the most conservative estimates from Nigerian Christian sources, Eibner said.

Additionally, he said, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor reported at the end of 2019 that there is “reasonable basis” to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have taken place in Nigeria. The ICC report stated that not only Boko Haram and its Islamist offshoots are under investigation, but also the Nigerian Security Forces (NSF), Eibner said.

According to the ICC, the investigation of NSF includes acts of violence against persons associated with the Shiite “Islamic Movement of Nigeria” and the predominantly-Christian Indigenous People of Biafra.

CSI last year launched its Nigeria Report website with news and a discussion platform about ways to end the sectarian conflicts and tribal rivalries in Nigeria.

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.

Stop the Christian Genocide in Nigeria

Just recently, we commemorated the fifth anniversary of the deaths of the 21 Coptic martyrs of Libya. These brave men refused to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, even unto death. The world looked on in horror as the hooded Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists recorded their crime against humanity in a scarring message to the “nation of the cross.” The incident validated that the genocide ISIS was committing against Christians was not limited to Iraq and Syria.

Boko Haram has killed more than 27,000 civilians in Nigeria. This is greater than the amount of civilians ISIS killed in Iraq and Syria combined.

The Global Terrorism Index states that Nigeria is the third most dangerous country after Afghanistan and Iraq. Open Doors estimates that more than 7,000 Nigerian Christians have been killed because of their faith over the last three years. The international mission to persecuted Christians estimates that 1,350 Christians were killed by Islamic militant groups in 2019. The Christian Association of Nigeria reports that 900 churches in northern Nigeria have been destroyed in their campaign.

Greg Stanton of Genocide Watch states that Boko Haram is committing a genocide against Christians and crimes against humanity against the wider population. In central Nigeria, Fulani militants are also committing ethnic cleansing and genocidal massacres against Christians. Stanton says that what is mistaken as a conflict between herders and farmers is actually “a genocidal war between ethnic groups that previously co-existed, ignited by Islamic extremists with modern weapons.”

In 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 Christian schoolgirls, and people around the world took part in the #bringbackourgirls campaign. Although the hashtag is no longer trending, more than 100 of those girls remain missing, and the world has all but forgotten.

Two years ago, Boko Haram kidnapped more than100 girls and released all but one: Leah Sharibu.

Why have they kept Leah in captivity?

Leah, who is a Christian, was the only girl who refused to renounce her faith. She is now being held by the group as a “slave for life.” The situation on the ground has continued to worsen since her initial kidnapping.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) notes the group has killed those, including religious leaders, it considers to be “nonbelievers.” USCIRF notes they have committed civilian abductions, forced marriages, forced conversions, sexual abuse and torture. Furthermore, they have begun using women and children to commit suicide attacks. In addition to committing a genocide against Christians, they are also terrorizing Nigeria’s Muslim community. Boko Haram is believed to have committed twin suicide bombings at a mosque and market in the city of Mubi, which resulted in 27 deaths.

The Christian community is struggling to respond to this genocide. Open Doors, which ranks Nigeria as the 12th highest country of Christian persecution in the world, reports that Christians “who see their mothers and sisters raped and their fathers and brothers killed” would be unwise to fight back because Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen militias are not street gangs: They possess military-grade weaponry.

How have these groups come to obtain military-grade weaponry?

Strong evidence suggests that foreign powers have smuggled arms to these groups. A leaked recording in 2014 indicates that Turkey has previously used Turkish Airlines for weapons smuggling to Nigeria.

The Nigerian government must take action to ensure that it closes all smuggling routes and channels between foreign suppliers of weapons and the terrorist organizations and militias that operate within its borders.

These groups are not only armed; they have been committing increasingly disturbing attacks against Christians in recent months.

Shortly after Christmas, Boko Haram executed 11 Nigerian Christians, one of whom was shot and 10 of whom were beheaded, who had originally been kidnapped in Borno State.

On Jan. 8, Aid to the Church in Need announced the murder of a Catholic seminarian who had been kidnapped from Kaduna State. Also in January, the Islamic State’s official propaganda channel released a video of a child soldier, approximately 8 years old, executing Ropvil Daciya Dalep, a Christian college student. That same month also witnessed the martyrdom of evangelical Protestant minister Lawan Andimi, whose preaching of the Gospel in his own hostage video went viral.

The Register, to its credit, has called on the Nigerian government to take action. As the editors highlighted, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto has charged that the government has “created the conditions to make it possible for Boko Haram to behave the way they are behaving.”

Bishop Kukah is right. President Muhammed Buhari has been, at the very least, complicit in this genocide, and the international community must pressure him to either enact serious reforms to Nigeria’s security apparatus or resign.

He recently told Crux that that while the Nigerian population is almost evenly divided amongst Christians and Muslims, all of the federal security chiefs, including the office of national security adviser and the minister of defense, are Muslims.

On a similar note, Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze of Benin City, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, told Catholic News Agency that there is a “lack of significant prosecution” of the Fulani herdsmen who attack Christians, especially in Nigeria’s north. He echoes Bishop Kukah by noting that almost all of the president’s advisers are from the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group and are Muslims.

David Curry of Open Doors has warned the crimes Boko Haram and Funali militias are committing against Christians qualify as genocide because “[Y]ou have a group of people who are saying they’re going to eliminate Christians in the North; they’re largely pushing people out and or killing them.” He added that genocide is “rarely [called] genocide until it’s too late.”

Today, we are calling this genocide. We are also calling on the government of Nigeria, the government of the United States and the international community to do the same and take immediate action to stop it.

Posted by Frank Wolf and Toufic Baaklini on National Catholic Register

Frank Wolf is a former member of Congress from Virginia and the author of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. He now focuses exclusively on human rights and international religious freedom.

Toufic Baaklini is the president and chairman of the board of directors for In Defense of Christians.

VOP Note: Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
%d bloggers like this: