by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Nigeria ranked number one in the world last year for the number of Christians murdered by Islamic jihadists: 3,462 Nigerian Christians were slaughtered in what rights groups have described as a “killing field” for Christians. In its 2021 annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) warned of a “Christian genocide” if the Nigerian government does not protect its Christian communities.
According to careful records kept by church groups, between 11,500-12,000 Christians have been murdered by Islamic jihadists since Islamic Fulani President Muhammadu Buhari took power in 2015, Genocide Watch reports.
The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram are responsible for many of the killings, as well as for hundreds of abductions of Christians. However, extremist Fulani herdsmen have emerged as posing the greatest threat to Nigeria’s Christians. Murder, displacement, abduction, and destruction of homes and churches have become regular occurrences while the world stands silent: in addition to the death toll, 4-5 million people have been displaced as their homes were destroyed; some 2,000 church buildings have been burned down.
Led by Buhari, himself Fulani, the Nigerian government has downplayed the ongoing massacres of Christians as fighting over land. The Biden administration even went so far as to remove Nigeria from its list of Countries of Particular Concern for religious persecution earlier this year, ahead of a visit to the country by US Secretary of state Anthony Blinken. The world has stood silent in the face of repeated pleas by Christians on the ground, and by rights groups such as International Christian Concern that work to help and represent them.
International Christian Concern has issued another call to prayer and action: “Please be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. In addition, we encourage you to contact the Nigerian embassy in your country today, calling on them to address the persecution of Christians.”
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