A systematic series of militia attacks in the past week on Christian churches by Muslims in Nigeria’s central Plateau State has killed 238 people, mostly women and children.
The Christian Association of Nigeria says more than 6,000 Christians have been killed since the beginning of the year in such attacks.
“What is happening in Plateau State and other select states in Nigeria is pure genocide and must be stopped immediately,” the group said in a statement.
Those responsible are allowed to “go scot free,” the organization said, with the Nigerian government wrongly trying to paint the attacks as “farmers/herdsmen clashes.”
Though the population of the country is split between Muslims and Christians, the government is dominated by Sunni Muslims trying to impose Shariah law on all.
“How can it be a clash when one group is persistently attacking, killing, maiming, destroying and the other group is persistently being killed, maimed and their places of worship destroyed?” the association asked. “How can it be a clash when the herdsmen are hunting farmers in their own villages/communities and farmers are running for their lives?”
According to Open Doors, Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places to be a Christian. It’s ranked 14th on the Christian group’s annual list of countries with the worst persecution against Christians.
The group said Islamic extremism, especially in the north of the country, was leading to “hostility towards Christians.”
“Believers experience discrimination and exclusion, and violence from militant Islamic groups, resulting in the loss of property, land, livelihood, physical injury or death,” said Open Doors. “This is spreading southwards. Corruption has enfeebled the state and made it ill-equipped to protect Christians. Rivalry between ethnic groups and raids by Fulani herdsmen compound the persecution.”