Today, leaders throughout the world are warning of what’s happening in not only Nigeria but throughout Africa:
Cameroon’s northern region has been designated a “red zone.”
Cameroon: Boko Haram and ISWAP continue to expand their influence. In 2020, the northern region of border country Cameroon also saw a deteriorating persecution situation. Because of the violent work of Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, the far north region of Cameroon has now been marked a “red zone,” as the group continues to expand their campaign from northern Nigeria into the three bordering divisions of Cameroon’s far north.
Over the past eight years, villages here have been attacked numerous times. And there is no end in sight. With each assault, Christian communities are left even more vulnerable than before. In this area, Christians are their preferred violence target, which has been physically and psychologically crippling.
The Sahel: Just south of the Sahara Desert in the Sahel region, Islamic extremism is fueled by injustice and poverty. Extremist groups exploit governmental failures, and armed jihadists spread propaganda, push recruitment and conduct regular attacks. This year, some groups pledged to wage war against “infidels” like Christians—claiming, “Allah punishes us all,” with the pandemic because of the infidels.
A United Nations official recently said countries in the central Sahel—Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger—are home to the world’s fastest-growing displacement and protection crisis. In Burkina Faso, until recently known for its inter-religious harmony between Muslims and Christians, 1 million people—1 in 20 of the population—are displaced (and millions more are hungry) as a result of drought and violence. Last year, Burkina Faso dramatically entered the World Watch List Top 50 for the first time. This year, Islamic extremists continue to target churches (14 killed in one attack, 24 in another).
In the once-peaceful country where different religious groups managed to thrive, violent Islamic militants have killed church leaders, kidnapped families for ransom and burned down churches and schools. —a picture of both the severity of persecution and powerful faith in the lives God’s people. In Mali, Western Christian hostages are still held and killed.
Mozambique: In East Africa, Mozambique entered the top 50 due to Islamic radical violence in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Christians face violence by a branch of ISIS that wants to impose Shariah law across the northern province bordering Tanzania. Another group has already attacked Christian villages across the border in Tanzania, where the autocratic President John Magufuli won a landslide election victory in October.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): In Central Africa, the Congo entered the top 50 this year at 40, mainly due to attacks on Christians Islamic State group-linked attackers, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). ADF has almost total control over vast rural areas, and for years it has attacked Christian-run schools and clinics, burned down churches and killed community leaders.