Christians in Nigeria faced escalating persecution and a mounting death toll in the first four months of 2020, a new report has said. Source: CNA.
In a report issued last week, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) said that 620 Nigerian Christians have been killed since the beginning of the year, and mapped a campaign of destruction and arson carried out against churches in the African nation.
The society, a non-profit founded in 2008 in Nigeria, works to promote civil liberties, the rule of law, criminal justice reform, and good governance. Its report said that “Nigeria’s main Islamic Jihadists: Militant Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram/ISWAP have intensified their anti-Christian violence in the old Middle Belt and Northeast regions.”
“The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked,” the report said, “with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists.”
Intersociety said that, despite making up nearly half of the country’s population, some 32,000 Christians have been killed in Islamist attacks since 2009.
Christians in Nigeria have been the victims of an escalating series of attacks, including kidnappings for ransom, since the beginning of the year.
In January, four seminarians were abducted by gunman from Good Shepherd Seminary. Ten days after the abduction, one of the four seminarians was found on the side of a road, alive but seriously injured. On January 31, an official at the seminary announced that two seminarians had been released, but that the fourth, Michael Nnadi, remained missing and was presumed still in captivity.
It was subsequently announced that Mr Nnadi had been killed.
In an interview from prison earlier this month, the leader of the gang which abducted Mr Nnadi took credit for his killing, telling local media that the 18-year-old seminarian “continued preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” and “told [his killer] to his face to change his evil ways or perish.”
In March, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the violence and kidnappings in a homily during Mass with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria.