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Nigeria: Christians ‘under relentless attack’

For information about Orthodox Christianity in Nigeria, see here.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria from ChristianPersecution.com, see here.

“Nigerian Christians ‘under relentless attack,’” by Rebecca Paveley, Church Times, July 14, 2023:

ATTACKS on Christian communities in parts of Nigeria are now relentless, as men, women, and children are killed and churches are burned, the Director of Mission Operations in the Anglican diocese of Jos, the Ven. Mark Mukan, has reported.

He spoke at Holy Trinity, Eastbourne, on a “Day of the Christian Martyr” event last month. It was part of “Out of the Ashes”: a three-month campaign of events in the UK organised by the charity Release International to highlight the suffering of Christians in Nigeria (News, 9 June).

Archdeacon Mukan described a campaign of murder and arson, with houses, churches, hospitals, and farmland “burned to ashes”, in the north-east of Nigeria.

Many of the Christians in the north — most of whom belong to the Church of the Brethren — had been killed or displaced, including at least eight of their pastors, he said, and the denomination had been almost wiped out.

“Many are traumatised, frightened, and living in shock. Those who survived have run for safe haven in cities or in Cameroon. If they have torched one church, they have torched us all. And, in the north-east especially, denominations have been wiped out.”

The cycle of violence in parts of Nigeria has been worsening in recent years, and Fulani herdsmen have been blamed for the many of the attacks. The conflict between the Muslim Fulani and Christian farmers dates back decades and is rooted in disputes over land as well as ethnic and religious differences.

The Nigerian NGO Intersociety says that 1080 Christians have been killed in attacks in the first quarter of 2023 alone. In the previous year, 5100 were killed in attacks by Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa, and Fulani militants….

He continued: “This violence is often simplistically characterised in the media as clashes between herders and farmers. This ignores the religious dimension behind many of the Fulani attacks, which together have the characteristic of an Islamist jihad.”

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