Increasing violence in Nigeria claims thousands of Christians, destroys churches

By April 7, 2004

Nigeria (MNN)–Nigeria’s Plateau State has seen a religious feud erupt, bringing war to some of the most peaceful areas of the country.

Bloody clashes last month led to the deployment of troops to hotspots where chaos has ruled in the five years since the end of military rule.

Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency reported that religious violence in Plateau and Nasarawa states has resulted in the displacement of 25,000 people. Bauchi state official Alhaji Musa Lima told Compass, “About 50,000 displaced persons who managed to escape the hostility have temporarily relocated to some parts of this state,” placing enormous pressure on local resources.

Compass Direct states that on March 28, Muslim-Christian violence broke out in the state of Nasarawa, reportedly claiming the lives of 15 Christians.

Open Doors’ Dr. Carl Moeller holds one group responsible for stirring up trouble. “A group of approximately ten thousand Muslim extremists have taken it upon themselves to eradicate the Christians from that region of Nigeria.”

That means believers have seen the incidents of persecution rise dramatically in recent days. “According to some of our friends there, we’ve seen up to fifty-thousand displaced persons, Christians mostly, as the result of the Muslim extremists.”

Moeller urges prayer for Christians to find strength to endure persecution and become stronger in their faith in the process. “Christian workers in Northern Nigeria are suffering constant harassment. It’s extremely dangerous to evangelize in this area. Pray for the boldness and courage of the evangelists to do the work in the northern part of the country.”

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