For information about Orthodox Christianity in Nigeria, see here.
For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria from ChristianPersecution.com, see here.
“Muslim Extremist Attacks Devastate Churches in Nigeria,” Morning Star News, January 30, 2024:
ABUJA, Nigeria (Christian Daily International–Morning Star News) – Recent Muslim extremist attacks in an area of central Nigeria resulted in dozens of deaths and the closure of 10 Baptist churches, including one now used as a mosque, a denominational leader said.
The attacks in Plateau state’s Mangu County by Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists included an assault on one village that killed 24 Christians, said Plateau Baptist Conference President Koeleh Kelvin Saleh. The raids drove 500 church members from 10 villages and resulted in the closure of a Baptist church in each community, he said.
“One of the church worship places in the affected Christian communities was converted into a mosque by the Muslim Fulani herdsmen who took over three communities,” Pastor Saleh told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News.
An attack by herdsmen in Kantoma village on May 16 resulted in the slaughter of 24 members of Bethel Baptist Church, including Pastor Mangmwos Tangshak Daniel, while nine members of a Baptist church in Jwak Maitumbi village were killed, Pastor Saleh said.
“The sad thing is that, we didn’t have a place to bury the corpses of our church members killed in the Kantoma attack, and so corpses were dumped in a mining pit,” he said.
Officials feared that burying so many mutilated bodies would lead to further security threats, so church leader arranged for a mass burial in a neighboring area, he said.
“An understanding was brokered with the Mararaban Kantoma community, which is of another local government area, for these bodies to buried there,” Pastor Saleh said. “Nobody was ready to release his land for such, and in fact the bodies littered the ground from morning to evening, and so when they searched and found a mining pit, an agreement was brokered with the community to push the bodies into the mining pit.”
The burial of Pastor Daniel’s body was carried out separately afterward, “so that it can be used as a contact from his family to other families who hadn’t the opportunity to give the Christian rites of burial to their relations, because they were just pushed into a mining pit,” he said.
“The mass burial was undertaken under tight security watch. It’s so pathetic that while the burial was ongoing, the Muslim Fulani herdsmen were shooting at Christians at the burial site,” he added. “The presence of police personnel who were at the burial site helped, because they also fired warning shots, which halted the attacks from the herdsmen.”
The burial was completed hurriedly because of the herdsmen shootings, Pastor Saleh said.
“The Christians there lost a lot; the church was destroyed, and there’s no single house standing in Kantoma – all houses of Christians have been destroyed,” he said. “It’s one of the communities where we had the largest Baptist church. The ruins of the community have been taken over by the herdsmen who now use the place to graze their cattle.”
The herdsmen have also stolen windows and doors from destroyed homes, he said.
“The situation in Kantoma is horrible. Christians who survived the attacks have nowhere to return to,” he said. “A few Christians who attempted to return there to salvage anything they can find in their destroyed houses had to be accompanied by security agents. And this they did hurriedly.”
Accompanied by security agents, Pastor Saleh and other Christian leaders visited the affected areas and discovered that Fulani herdsmen had taken over three Christian communities, he said.
“In fact, one of the church buildings which served as a worship hall for Christians has been converted into a mosque,” he said….