Roughly 3,462 Christians have been killed by Islamic militants in Nigeria this year.
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law — a Nigeria-based nonprofit — reports that the number of deaths halfway through 2021 is nearly equivalent to the number of deaths in all of 2020.
The group explains:
This number further represents daily average Christian deaths of seventeen and second highest since 2014 when over 5000 Christian deaths were recorded in the hands of Boko Haram and Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen. While Boko Haram killed over 4000 Christians in 2014, the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen accounted for 1,229 Christian deaths. In our last report issued on 11th May 2021, covering January to April 2021, we found that no fewer than 1,470 Christians were hacked to death and in the past 80 days or 1st May to 18th July 2021, not less than 1, 992 Christian lives have been lost.
The group also observed a rise in the number of abducted Christians and damaged churches:
We also found that no fewer than 780 additional Christians were abducted in 80 days or 1st May to 18th July whereas between 1st January and 30th April, 2200 were abducted. This brings the total number of the abducted Christians since January to 3000, out of which at least three out of every abducted thirty Christians were most likely to have died in captivity; thereby indicating additional secret death in jihadists’ captivity of 300 Christians… The number of Churches threatened or attacked and closed or destroyed or burnt since January 2021 is also estimated to be around 300 with at least ten priests or pastors abducted or killed by the jihadists.
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law — which uses “direct contacts with the victims, eyewitnesses, media tracking, review of credible local and international reports, interviews and closed sources” to track violence against Christians — pointed to the government’s lax handling of the crisis as a factor that encourages increased violence.
Particularly in northern Nigeria, the jihadists allegedly “operate freely under the cover and protection of the security forces.”
As detailed by HeartCry Missionary Society — an American ministry that supports several dozen pastors in Africa — Nigeria is “divided roughly in half between Muslims, who live mostly in the north, and Christians, who live mostly in the south. The nation has “the world’s fifth-largest Muslim population and sixth-largest Christian population,” leading to “heavy persecution of Christians by Muslims in northern Nigeria.”
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