The Slaughter in Nigeria Continues

Jan 22, 2024 by

By Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism.

The persecution of Christians in Nigeria seems to be intensifying. Anyone paying attention is aware that there are continuing reports of people being killed in the north of Nigeria, and its so-called “Middle Belt” of farmland, where the mostly Christian farmers are being killed, their crops destroyed, and villages and homes burnt by radical Islamic groups: Fulani herdsman, Boko Haram, and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). However, Christian holidays are especially likely to be a time for attack, and this past Christmas saw one of the worst attacks yet, the slaughter of 200 Christians in Plateau State in the Middle Belt on December 23 through 25.

Atrocities on Christian Holidays

This attack recalls the Pentecost Sunday attack on St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, in southwest Nigeria in 2022. There 50 people were killed. A video clip of the church with pools of blood on the floor immediately after the attack in this article from is simply horrific.

The choice of a Christian holiday to attack Christians highlights a key controversy which is raised whenever there is attention to the killing in Nigeria. Is this simply a “farmer/herder” conflict, driven ultimately by economic factors, in particular, desertification of the Sahel (the semi-arid transitional zone south of the Sahara Desert), or is it a basically a religious clash, with Muslims attacking Christians in an effort to seize the property of Christian farmers and Islamize Nigeria? The governor of Plateau state, Caleb Mutfwang clearly stated after the attacks that what is happening in Nigeria is genocide. The word may be overused in our day but does express that what is happening is not a “clash,” or a “conflict,” or “sectarian violence,” all of which terms would indicated two sides fighting, but simply radical Muslim groups attacking Christians with the objective of killing them and seizing their property.

Configuration of the Crisis

As noted by Jeff King, President of International Christian Concern in a video clip interviewing a Nigerian pastor cited in an article last fall, when the British ruled Nigeria, they relied on northern Muslims, and particularly the Fulani tribe (with millions of members across the Sahel) to rule the country. This left northern Muslims in charge of the military and security apparatus, with the result that Nigerian army today is reluctant to act against Islamic terrorists (former President Muhammadu Buhari was himself a Fulani), or is even complicit in attacks, arresting or attacking civilian guards against the violence.

Read here.

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