Attacks force Christians flee villages in Nigeria’s mid belt

August 2, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Nigeria, July 30, 2013: Thousands of Christians have fled their villages in Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt following attacks by suspected Islamic extremists that left dozens dead and over 100 homes destroyed.

Christians are under constant threat in Nigeria's Middle Belt and North

Christians are under constant threat in Nigeria's Middle Belt and North

The violence erupted in Langtang Local Government Area on 27 June and continued for ten days. More than 30 Christian men, women and children were shot dead in raids on Magama, Bolgong and Karkashi. Other villages were also targeted, raising the death toll.

The Rev. Johnson Kikem, chairman of a regional council of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), said earlier this month:

The number of Christians killed may be as high as 70, as corpses of Christians killed while fleeing these attacked villages still litter the bushes.

The Muslim attackers chased their Christian victims on motorcycles and were killing them as they tried to escape. So many dead bodies have been recovered from the bush, and we believe that more may still be found.

A local official said that over 100 houses were burnt down and more than 6,000 people displaced. They took refuge in camps in Mabudi, Langtang and Shendam towns.

The authorities initially said that the Christians had been attacked by Fulani herdsmen in retaliation for cattle theft. But a commander of the military’s Special Task Force in Plateau state later said that it was not an ethnic conflict and that most of the attackers were foreign.

There have been other recent attacks against Christians in Plateau state, with the Wase Local Government Area being badly affected. On 18 July, six Christians were shot dead in an early morning attack on Dinu village.

Toma Vongjen (40) was killed in the nearby village of Bakin Rijiya on 18 June; churchbuildings in four villages were destroyed on the same day.

Over the last six months, around 60 Christian communities in Wase have been attacked; 20 Christians have been killed, several women raped, and at least 100 church buildingsdestroyed.

The Rev. Dinfa Lamda said:

There are Christian villages that have been completely wiped out by these Muslim terrorists.

He said that most churches in Wase have been forced to close due to the violence.

Islamic extremist groups are believed to be stoking up tensions over property disputes to incite Fulani Muslims to attack Christian areas.

– morning star news

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