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Islamists kill 295 Nigerian Christians in wave of Christmas attacks

3 January 2024

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An estimated 295 Christians were killed in a wave of well-coordinated attacks spanning Christmas Eve, 24 December 2023, in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State, in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.

The dead were mostly women and children including physically challenged people who were unable to run and were burnt alive.

The attacks by Fulani Islamist militia groups began on the evening of 23 December and finished on the morning of Christmas Day.

A Christian woman, widowed in an Islamist attack ten years ago, recovers in hospital from bullet wounds inflicted in one of the Christmas Eve attacks in Plateau State in which a number of her family were killed

Twenty-five remote and widely scattered villages were targeted. In total more than 1,500 homes were burnt, eight churches destroyed, many hundreds of people injured and 30,000 displaced.

Two pastors were killed. One of them, Rev. Jonathan Daluk, in Tudun Mazat village, fled with his family but realising that his mother and brother were still back in the vicarage, went back for them and all three were killed.

Despite the frustration and anger at the failure of the government and security agencies to stop the killings, Christians in these villages say they are looking up to God, and the authorities for justice. “We do not and will not go for any reprisals or attacks … The Lord is our help and our refuge,” said a pastor in Bokkos.

The grieving communities of Christians need our prayers as they continue to suffer persecution for their faith, for simply wanting to be Christians and worship Jesus Christ. Pray for leadership in Nigeria that places the highest possible value on human life.

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