Deadly sectarian violence hits Nigeria.

By March 10, 2004

Nigeria (MNN)–A wave of deadly sectarian violence is ravaging Plateau state. Fresh skirmishes erupted after Muslims opened fire on a church just three weeks ago, killing nearly 50 believers.

In the latest incident, Nigerian army officials said Christians marched on their Muslim neighbors in Shendam district to avenge the earlier killings of dozens of their own people in a neighbouring town.

The revenge mindset is creating instability in the region, forcing thousands to flee, and disrupting some ministry work.

Open Doors’ Jerry Dykstra believes the violence is indirectly related to the threat of enforced Islamic law. “12 of the 36 Nigerian States have implemented full Sharia law, and, of course, that’s very disturbing. We know that over the last five years, around 10-thousand people have died as a direct result of Sharia-related clashes.”

As to the effect of Sharia implementation on evangelistic work, Dykstra explains, “Open Doors is upholding pastors there, training pastors, and so forth and conducting seminars. Nigeria right now is just a powder keg and we need to lift up those Christians in that area.”

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