Christians continue to be the victims of senseless violence in Nigeria, with at least 12 believers killed in two separate incidents in Kaduna state. Please continue to pray for our family in Nigeria, which rose three places to number nine in this year’s World Watch List.
Destroyed home in southern Kaduna (illustrative image)
Your prayers continue to be needed for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, after at least 12 Christians were tragically killed in two separate attacks earlier this month in the Middle Belt state of Kaduna.
Silas Yakubu Ali, a 55-year-old senior pastor, was found dead on 11 September after he did not return from a visit to a nearby town. He is believed to have been ambushed and killed when his motorbike had run out of fuel.
The following day, a group attacked a village in the same area, killing at least 11 residents, two of whom were pregnant. According to CSW, ten of the victims were members of the church which Silas Yakubu Ali led, whilst the eleventh victim was part of a separate church. The perpetrators of this attack are believed to be Fulani militants.
“Many people are missing as a result of the attack,” a local source told Nigeria’s Daily Post. “It is impossible to ascertain the number of those injured and those killed, but so far, l have counted 11 dead bodies in different locations this morning.”
Between January and September this year, almost 600 people were killed in Kaduna alone, according to data from the Nigeria Security Tracker. Only Zamfara and Borno states recorded more deaths in the same period through violence.
Nigeria is number nine on the World Watch List. More Christians are murdered for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country. The northern states, which are mostly Muslim, as well as the Middle Belt region (where Kaduna is located), are where believers are most at risk of persecution, and it is spreading to the Christian-majority south. Those responsible for targeting Christians include Fulani militants, Boko Haram and armed bandits.
Last month, a group of human-rights experts and religious freedom advocates urged the US government to keep Nigeria on its list of “Countries of Particular Concern”, which is the designation given to countries that have ‘engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom’.
The list, which is an advisory document to the US State Department published annually by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, features what the commission considers to be the worst religious freedom violators. The list of worst offenders includes China, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and others.
“Any let up by the US and the international community will signal to the people of Nigeria that they have been abandoned,” said Kelsey Zorzi, Director of Global Religious Freedom for ADF International, in a statement. “We cannot stand by while the Nigerian government allows terrorists and criminals to attack faith communities and commit gross human rights violations with impunity. Nigeria must remain a Country of Particular Concern,” she said.
Find out more about the persecution facing Christians across the world, and the role you’re playing in helping our brothers and sisters stand strong in their faith, at Standing Strong Live on Saturday (26 September).
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.