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Media Contact: William Stark, Regional Manager for Africa RM-AfricaAsia@persecution.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
At Least 71 Christians Killed in Coordinated Attacks on Christian Villages in Nigeria
Fulani Muslims and Boko Haram Militants Suspected Behind Anti-Christian Rampage
International Christian Concern
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that at least 71 Christians, including women and children, have been indiscriminately murdered in a series of attacks on Christian villages in Nigeria's northern and middle belt regions. The slaughter of Christians in Nigeria continues to accelerate despite the U.S. State Department recently designating the Islamic extremist groups Boko Haram and its affiliate Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations earlier this month, allowing the U.S. to take more direct action against the groups.
In the early morning hours of November 26, four predominately Christian villages in Nigeria's Plateau state, including the villages of Rawuru, Tasu, Foron and Gurabok, were attacked by Muslim Fulani herdsman. In a press statement released by the military's Special Task Force spokesman, Salisu Mustapha, it was reported that at least 37 people were killed, an untold number were injured and several Christian homes were destroyed.
Spokesperson for the Plateau State Command of the Nigeria Police, Felicia Anselem, stated that the attacks seem to be part of a coordinated plan. "The attacks were carried out at about 1 a.m. this morning," Anselem said. "The attackers attacked the villages at the same time, having gone there in groups."
Christian leaders believe that Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram and Ansaru are inciting the Fulani Muslims to attack Christians living in Nigeria's middle belt region. According to Morning Star News, "hit-and-run, guerrilla-style attacks on Christian villages in which children are shot to death as they sleep support [the Christian leaders] suspicion that the assaults are motivated by desire to eliminate Christianity."
This night of terror comes on the heels of a series of equally terrifying attacks perpetrated by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria's northern state of Borno. At least 26 Christians were killed in attacks on Christian villages between November 11 - 13 and eight others were killed on November 3. "For three days, they attacked the Christian villages," Rev. Titus Pona said as he described the attacks that occurred between November 11 and 13 to Morning Star News. "They came in two Hilux vehicles, three buses and about 30 motorcycles armed with AK-47 rifles, going from house to house killing, looting and burning."
Boko Haram, whose name means 'Western education is a sin,' has a stated goal of establishing a purely Islamic state in Nigeria's north where it can implement its fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia law. In 2012, Boko Haram demanded that all Christians living in northern Nigeria flee south. Since then, Boko Haram and its affiliates have used church bombings, drive-by shootings and deadly raids on Christian villages as a part of its strategy to 'purify' northern Nigeria.
ICC's Regional Manager, William Stark, said, "Innocent Christians living in Nigeria's northern and middle belt regions continue to be slaughtered and terrorized by Boko Haram and its affiliates. Although ICC applauds the action taken by the U.S. to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization, more has to be done by the Nigerian government, the U.S. and the rest of the international community to insure the safety of Christians in Nigeria. If decisive action is not taken, the unbelievable violence being perpetrated against Christians in Nigeria will only continue to accelerate and will likely reach genocidal levels in the near future."
For interviews, contact William Stark, Regional Manager for Africa: RM-AfricaAsia@persecution.org
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