WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 5, 2009) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Islamic extremists in northern Nigeria gunned down Christians and set fire to their homes and churches during a three-day rampage in which 11 people were killed and 3500 were displaced.
According to Nigerian news source, the Guardian, the violence against the Christians in the city of Bauchi started on February 20, 2009, following a disagreement between two factions of an Islamic sect known as Izala.
The factions had agreed to hold prayer at the mosque at different times. When one of the factions breached the agreement by continuing their prayer service beyond the time allotted them, the members of the other faction parked their cars in the parking lot of a nearby church. When members of the church asked the Muslims not to utilize the church’s parking, the faction responded by burning the church to the ground.
Following the church’s destruction, unidentified individuals burnt down a mosque. Though their claims were unverifiable, Muslim extremists accused Christians of the arson and began indiscriminately attacking Christians in the city.
"The security agencies and Bauchi State government have failed us. We are at the mercy of the Muslims, we are not safe, and there is no security for us here in Bauchi," stated Bishop Musa Tula in a statement quoted by the Nigerian Tribune. Bishop Tula is Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bauchi State chapter.
The Bishop added that, "If they want us to go and live in the bush, let them show us the place. We are living in perpetual fear and the Federal Government must do something urgent for the sake of peace in the country."
Muslims are the majority in northern Nigeria, and Christian minorities in the region are routinely attacked by Islamic extremists. In most cases, the extremists carry out large scale and violent attacks which are largely ignored by Muslim officials who do not take enough measures to safeguard the safety of Christians.
ICC’s Regional Manger for Africa, Jonathan Racho, stated, "Nigerian officials have repeatedly failed their obligations to protect Christian minorities from savage attacks by Muslim extremists in the northern part of the country. We call upon the Nigerian government to establish an independent commission to investigate the attacks in Bauchi and bring the perpetrators to justice."
Please pray for Christians in northern Nigeria. Pray for their safety and protection against persecution. Also pray that the Muslims that persecute them will come to know the love of Jesus Christ.
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