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Bloodbath: Over 200 Christians killed in Nigeria during Christmas season



Map of Plateau State

Suspected armed terrorists invaded Christian-dominated communities in Plateau State, North Central Nigeria, on Christmas eve, slaughtering about 200 locals and injuring nearly 300 others.

In what was described as “well-coordinated” attacks, the terrorists invaded several communities in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas as the residents were preparing to attend programmes lined up by their pastors to mark the birth of Jesus Christ.

Some of the affected Christian communities were Butura Kampani, Chirang, Maiyanga, NTV, Tamiso, Darawat, Meyenga, Ruku, Yelwa, Dares, Tahore, Gawarba, Hurum, Makundary, Murfet, Ngyong, Ndun and Ruwi.


Houses destroyed

Majority of the Christians killed were women, children and the elderly who could not escape the attacks.

Apart from killing and injuring the people, several houses were destroyed, residents said.

Morning Star News reports that Reverend Gushe of Baptist Church in Dares village, Bokkos council, was killed alongside nine other members of his family.

“Some pastors were killed and another pastor and his wife and five children were killed during these attacks.

“These terrorists who attacked these Christian communities were in the hundreds, and they carried out the attacks as the hapless Christians were preparing for Christmas programmes lined up by their pastors,” a resident, Dawzino Mallau, told the newspaper in a text message.

Another resident, Alfred Mashat, said several houses were destroyed.

“About 16 Christians in these villages were killed. We believe they are carrying out these attacks alongside armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen,” he added.

Mashat listed some of the Christians killed in Maiyanga as Sati Solomon Langweng, David Jallang, Gaius Adamu, Mafulul Langweng, Nafor James Markut, Matawal Gaius Adamu, Fidelis Solomon Jallang and Sule Shahu.

Others were Mildred James Markut, Maren Paul Mashok, Samuel Mamot and Machief Mangut.

He said Tanko, Haruna, John and Salo were the four Christians killed in Darawat village.

Head of the Bokkos LGA, Monday Kassah, told AFP that 113 people were massacred in the attacks in about 20 villages while more than 300 people who were wounded were taken to hospitals in Bokkos, Jos and Barkin Ladi councils.

A lawmaker, Dickson Chollom, told AFP that no fewer than 50 people died in the villages.

Solomon Musa, on his part, told Morning Star News that bodies of 60 Christians in Bokkos were recovered and buried.

“Another 26 corpses were buried in Barkin Ladi Council area on Christmas Day. On Saturday, December 23, Muslim terrorists attacked Christian villages in Bokkos Local Government Area, and the attacks continued until Christmas Day,’ Musa said.

He stated further that 16 Christians were killed while many were injured and houses destroyed in Ruwi village.

Morning Star News reported Alfred Alabo, the spokesperson of the police command in Plateau State, as saying in a press release that on December 24, assailants attacked 12 villages in Bokkos and three villages in Barkin Ladi.

He said 221 houses, 27 motor cycles and eight other motor vehicles were burnt in Bokkos while more than 79 people were killed. He added that 17 people were killed in Barkin Ladi.

Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State, who decried the incidents, said no fewer than 60 people were killed in Mangu and Bokkos councils in the previous 48 hours.

“This is unacceptable. Enough is Enough. These stupid, senseless and unprovoked acts must stop,” the governor said just as he vowed to strengthen security agencies in the efforts in tackling insecurity in the state.

Nigeria’s president, Bola Tinubu, who was holidaying in Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, directed security agencies to arrest perpetrators of the killings.

He also directed the immediate mobilisation of relief materials for victims of the attacks.

The president dispatched his deputy, Kashim Shettima, to Plateau on December 27 to commiserate with the victims and the communities. He assured that the government would not rest on its oars until victims of the gruesome attacks get justice.


VP Shettima consoles the people

The Christian Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body of all Christians in the country, condemned the assault, saying it was a threat to the nation’s harmony and shared values.

“We condemn these acts of violence in the strongest terms. The burning down of houses, and worship centres, and the destruction of properties worth millions of naira is not only a criminal act but also a direct assault on our shared values of peace, unity and mutual respect.

“Such acts have no place in our society and must not be allowed to prevail,” CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, said in a statement.


Adamawa killings

Meanwhile, in Taraba State in the North Eastern part of the country, Islamic terrorists reportedly killed two Christians, burnt down houses and looted shops on Christmas Day in Kwapre village.

Morning Star News reported that residents of Kwapre village in Hong Local Government Area of Adamawa State identified the attackers to be members of the Boko Haram sect.

A resident, Hosea Yakubu, told the newspaper that “while Christians here in Kwapre were celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ like other Christians across the world, Boko Haram invaded our community and killed two Christians.”

He added, “These terrorists attacked our community using deadly weapons like guns and machetes. Many other Christians were injured and houses destroyed during the attack.”

A community leader, Simon Buba, told Morning Star News that he and others had reported to the security agencies.

According to him, “Terrorists who are members of the Boko Haram sect attacked my community on Christmas Day while we were in a festive mood. A day that we were celebrating God’s faithfulness in our lives was turned into a day of mourning. Two Christians were killed and many houses were destroyed.”

Spokesperson of the police in Adamawa State, Suleiman Nguroje, confirmed the incident in a press release.


Taraba killings

Yet in another development, eight Christians were killed by terrorists in the neigbouring Taraba State, North East Nigeria, three days after Christmas.

The terrorists reportedly attacked four predominantly Christian villages in Ussa Local Government Area at about 4 p.m. on December 28.

“While we were celebrating Christmas, an event which reminds us of the birth of our messiah, Jesus Christ, Muslims terrorists attacked the villages of Kpambo, Fikyu, Kpambo-Yash and Kpmabo-Kuri.

“Eight Christians were killed during these attacks, and most of the houses belonging to Christians were destroyed by the terrorists,” one Lami John to Morning Star News.

 She said that she fled the village as the attackers were shooting at one in sight and burning houses.

“Most Christian farmers are unable to go to their farms to harvest their crops because these terrorists lurk in bushes killing Christians they spot working on farms,” Bulus Andeyake, another resident, said. “It is risky for us to go to our farms. In Ussa Local Government Area, many Christians have been killed by Muslim terrorists.”

The attack came a week after 13 Christians were killed in Jenuwagida in the same Ussa council.


Political leaders lament

In a press statement on December 29, Rikupki Urenyang Joshua, a lawmaker, who represents the area at the Taraba State House of Assembly, said continuous attacks have led to the death of over 500 Christians in council.

“The murderers come in from Cameroon via the border communities and have continued to launch attacks on our vulnerable communities,” he said.

David Jimkuta, the senator for Taraba South, said in the Ussa and Takum councils, hundreds of people have been killed while over 50 villages destroyed in the last three months.

“It’s rather sad that a total of 50 villages in Ussa and Takum Local Government Areas are in ruins because of attacks carried out by terrorists against Christians.

“Unfortunately, our security agencies seem to feign ignorance as to where these terrorists are to be found. Truth is, security agencies know where these terrorists are; let them flush out these terrorists from their enclave,” Jimkuta said.

The senator called for a state of emergency to be declared in the councils.


 Nigeria leads other countries in Christian killings

Christian watchdog, Open Doors USA, in its 2023 World Watch List report, said 5,014 Christians were killed in 2022.

“Militants from the Fulani, Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and others conduct raids on Christian communities, killing, maiming, raping and kidnapping for ransom or sexual slavery,” the group said.

“This year has also seen this violence spill over into the Christian-majority south of the nation … .Nigeria’s government continues to deny this is religious persecution, so violations of Christians’ rights are carried out with impunity.”



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