By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
ABUJA (Worthy News) – Christians in several parts of Nigeria were reeling Thursday from new attacks by Islamic fighters who reportedly torched homes and killed Christians, including a pregnant woman.
As part of the latest known wave of violence, members of the militant Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group burned homes in the northeastern Borno state on December 19, Christians said.
The attacks came nine days after “terrorists” murdered a pregnant woman in the same area, Christian news agency Morning Star News (MSN) reported citing a local resident.
Besides burning homes, the militants reportedly destroyed livestock and storehouses of harvested crops in the mainly Christian Jibwiwi (Debiro) village in Hawul County and Ngulde village in Askira/Uba County.
“They rode on motorcycles, armed with guns and cluster bombs, which they used in attacking two communities,” MSN quoted resident Shawulu Yohanna as saying. “The people in the two villages were able to escape the onslaught as no one was killed.”
On December 10, terrorists invaded a home in Hawul County’s Pelachiroma village and shot dead a pregnant Christian woman, Mary Barka Paul Sawa, Yohanna said.
Sawa’s husband, Paul Sawa, was reportedly wounded in the attack before escaping. Separately Islamic Fulani herdsmen killed three Christians on December 17 as they worked on their farm in Nigeria’s central Benue state, authorities said.
Paul Hemba, the special adviser to the Benue state governor, explained in a statement that the “three victims were attacked with machetes” in the Adaka village in Guma County.
The armed herdsmen also destroyed villagers’ crops as part of an ongoing crackdown in recent years in Benue state, he said.
Numbering millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, some of the mainly Muslim Fulani adhere to the radical Islamist ideology preached by militant groups, experts say.
The latest reported violence came in a month when scores of Christians were killed in Nigeria, where thousands of believers have been murdered.
Nigeria is among the countries leading the world in the number of Christians killed for their faith, according to well-informed sources.
Last year at least 4,650 Christians were killed in the period October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021, said the 2022 World Watch List (WWL) report of the advocacy group Open Doors. That was up from 3,530 the previous year, the WWL report said.
The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report. WWL, which appears annually, measures 50 nations where it says Christians face the most persecution for their faith.
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