|Persecution Type:||Islamic oppression|
|Persecution Level:||Very High|
|Main Religion:||Christianity, Islam|
|Government:||Federal presidential republic|
|Leader:||President Maj. Gen. (ret.) Muhammadu Buhari|
Christians in the northern region and in the Middle Belt suffer from violence perpetrated by Islamic extremist groups such as militant Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram. Such violence often results in loss of life, physical injury, as well as loss of property. As a result of the violence, Christians are also being dispossessed of their land and means of livelihood—and Christians with a Muslim background also face rejection from their own families.
In some northern states, increasing numbers of Christians are dressing like Muslims to make their faith less obvious and reduce the chances of attack. Young Christians in these states are frequently denied access to higher education, and Christians have been asked to give up their faith in order to obtain work. Applications for permits to build churches are ignored.
The situation is especially difficult for converts from Islam to Christianity. They usually are assisted in underground locations for fear of being persecuted or even killed. In the north they often have to flee their homes and even the state. This is far less likely to occur in the south.
February 2019 in Gusau, Zamfara State: Bandits abducted and killed an Anglican priest from the Diocese of Sokoto. His wife and children were also abducted and their whereabouts are unknown.
In April 2019 in Madagali, Adamawa State: At about 5:40 p.m., Boko Haram fighters invaded predominantly Christian Kuda community in Madagali Local Government Area (LGA) of Adamawa State. Over 30 houses were set on fire and 23 people were killed, 20 of whom were Christians. Residents left the village to seek refuge in Gulak and other relatively safer parts of Adamawa State.
August 2019 in Lau LGA, Taraba State: A conflict between a radical Fulani herder and a farmer was the trigger for attacks and reprisal acts that continued for weeks and resulted in 65 deaths (most of them Christians) and 18 burned villages (with 15 churches, two elementary schools and a health centers destroyed). Security forces that were deployed in the area did not intervene; on the contrary, in June 2019 many youth were arrested during protests against the violence and inaction of the local authorities.
In Riyom, Plateau State in September 2019, three internally displaced Christians were killed by gunmen. Their community had been destroyed by Fulani militants in 2018, and they were still being hosted in other communities. However, the villagers, who wanted to return to their own village, had started to rebuild their houses. For weeks a group of young men would guard their properties at night and monitor security in the area. Three of them were ambushed.
In early October 2019, in Chikun, Kaduna State, Fulani-speaking gunmen kidnapped six school girls and two teachers from Engravers College Kakau, a Christian-run high school. The abductors stormed the boarding school around midnight, when most of the students and teachers were asleep. The victims were released after a ransom was paid. In the last few years, armed groups have perpetrated countless abductions along the Kaduna-Abuja highway for ransom, and in the process killed some of their victims. But this is the first time a school was involved.
In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More
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