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Nigeria: Nearly 200 Christians killed after the continuous Christmas attack

Nearly 200 Christian Nigerians died in a series of Christmas weekend attacks on Christian villages in the central Nigerian state of Plateau.

Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Sokoto Diocese in northern Nigeria is demanding the government intervene to stop these attacks.

Bishop Matthew Kukah told Bola Tinubu, Nigeria's recently elected president, that " neither God nor history will forgive you if you fail" and that "you have no excuses before God or the people of Nigeria."

The Nigeria Catholic Network reported on the bishop's speech, which also stressed how "Nigerians have almost lost hope" and that "our politicians will put our interests first and find a way to deal with the cancer of corruption."

The bishop said that "a government can really and truly care for them."

According to Amnesty International Nigeria, 194 people died in Plateau State, with 148 of them dying in Bokkos, 27 in Barkin Ladi, and 19 in Mangu. The bombing affected 32,604 people, resulting in 161 deaths reported by the Nigerian Red Cross. The bombing affected 84 settlements in Barkin Ladi and Bokkos, displacing 29,350 people. Furthermore, the bombing destroyed 27 dwellings and caused injuries to 301 individuals.

Maria Lozano, a representative for the papal relief group Aid to the Church in Need, said, "The weekend was "one of the most violent [times] in the area's history" due to the Christmas attacks.

She said she believed that a radicalized Islamic tribe known as the Fulani was responsible for the latest violence. 

Terrorists also carried out a massacre on Pentecost in 2022, killing 50 Christian villagers on Christian feast days.

Those attacks were the result of ethnic and religious tensions between Christian farmers and Fulani herders, Lozano said.  

According to Lozano, a "lack of government response" has worsened the situation in the region over the years, and tangible government support has largely been missing since the Christmas massacre. Lozano states that the lack of government assistance has compelled churches to assist themselves.

Bola Tinubu, Nigeria's president-elect, ordered a "rapid mobilization of relief resources" and ordered the country's security agencies to "scour the entire zone" and "apprehend those responsible for the atrocities.”

Mutfwang urged the government to identify both the sponsors of the attacks and those responsible, so it could “unravel all those responsible.”

For the past three years, International Christian Concern (ICC) has recognized Nigeria in its annual Persecutors of the Year report, designating it as one of the most dangerous countries in the Middle Belt for Christians.

Over the previous 20 years, the Middle Belt region had seen millions of Christians displaced and more than 50,000 Christians killed.


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