April 1, 2019
Christian deaths are spiraling in Nigeria as militant Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorists escalate their attacks, according to reports from religious liberty watchdog groups active there.
As many as 280 people were killed in Christian communities in several attacks spanning February through mid-March in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, according to varying reports from Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Morning Star News and International Christian Concern. Militants destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced residents.
The latest attacks surround the Feb. 26 re-election of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari over challenger Atiku Abubakar, who has challenged the election results in court.
Open Doors ranked Nigeria 12th in its 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most dangerous to live as a Christian. Of the 4,136 Christians killed in 2018, Nigeria accounted for 3,731, Open Doors said.
In related news:
- The pastor and 10 members of a prominent church in China, Early Rain Covenant Church, remain jailed three months after the government invaded their worship and arrested 100 of them because of their Christianity.
China is reportedly harassing Christians, Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists and others amid increased international pressure to uphold religious freedom in the Communist country where worship of President Xi Jinping is mandated.
- Another prominent unregistered church in China, Shouwang Church in Beijing, which draws more than 1,000 congregants, was raided by Chinese police recently and officially banned from gathering to worship.
Shouwang members refused to sign a document pledging to never attend the church again, and leaders said the church will continue to worship by adjusting meeting times and locations. (BP, Christianity Today)