Nigeria (MNN) — Christians have again been the focus of violence over the weekend in Jos, Nigeria.
Open Doors is a ministry to the persecuted church and has work in the region. Open Doors' Paul Estabrooks says, "It's a hotly-contested part of the country that separates the Muslim north from the predominately-Christian south."
Estabrooks describes the violence: "At least 200 people were killed in the rioting [Sunday]–most of them Christians. The descriptions are not to be repeated on the air. The bodies are beyond recognition in some cases; the babies included with their mothers, and it's a pretty sad story."
Similar violence less than two months ago left more than 300 Christians dead and churches burned.
The most recent violence may be in response to those who took the law into their own hands and attacked those responsible.
Estabrooks says there also may be other reasons. "Christians run most of the businesses in the area. Muslims claim they have been denied jobs and other benefits by the Christian-dominated government in Plateau State."
Ending the cycle of violence is important, says Estabrooks, but few are qualified. "Theologically, this is left to evangelical Christians because leaders told us to forgive and not to retaliate and leave justice and vengeance to God."
Open Doors is doing what they can to help, says Estabrooks. "We have people on the ground who teach our 'Standing Strong through the Storm' seminar, which addresses how we respond to this violence, what Jesus teaches us about it, as well as how to help the widows and the orphans who are left behind."
While the church is growing, pray that the cycle of violence will end and that many will turn to Christ as a result.