Killings and persecution for Christians rise in Africa, seemingly worst in Nigeria

(Photo: REUTERS / Joe Penney)A church is seen guarded by soldiers behind sandbags, in Maiduguri, Nigeria May 23, 2014. Christian houses of worship are guarded by military soldiers at all times in Maiduguri.

Christianity faces deadly crises in more than half of Africa's 54 countries, according to reports, and the situation is worst in Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation.

Christian groups contacted by Fox News Digital said the faithful are being persecuted, killed, and displaced in 28 countries on the continent in an April 14 report.

Persecution watchdog group Open Doors U.S. told Fox News Digital its research shows that "nine out of 10 Christians killed for their faith in 2023 were in Nigeria. However, this number is likely higher, as many deaths go unreported."

"Nigeria is one of the deadliest places on earth to be a Christian," Ryan Brown, Open Doors US CEO, told Fox News Digital.

"Of the nearly 5,000 Christians killed for their faith in 2023 worldwide, a staggering 82 percent of them were in Nigeria."

"Currently, there are 28 countries on the African continent listed on the Open Doors' U.S. 2024 World Watch List, nations where Christians routinely face oppression, harassment and violence because of their faith in Christ."

Despite around 46 percent of Nigeria's population of 236 million being Christian, they are often seized from their homes.

Brown of Open Doors U.S. reported that "of the 34.5 million displaced people across sub-Saharan Africa due to political instability, conflict, and extremism, an estimated 16.2 million are Christians."

On May 16, The Wall Street Journal headlined a story: "The Hunting of Nigeria's Christians - The government seems powerless to stop the massacres and mass abductions."

From Nigeria's capital, Abuja, on May 14, Christian Daily International- Morning Star News cited a human rights group reporting that 1,336 people were killed in the country's Plateau state between December and February.

Residents also reported 18 Christians killed since mid-April.

Herdsmen killed four Christian farmers on May 7, council official Christopher Audu Manship told Morning Star News.

On the same day in Bassa County, herdsmen ambushed and hacked to death a Christian in Kwal village as he was working on his farm, said area resident Ezekiel Bini.

"The Christian farmer's wife and children were killed by herdsmen in 2021 during an attack on the Kwal community, a predominantly Christian community," Bini told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News.

In Bokkos County also on May 7, Joshua Gonshak, a lecturer at Plateau State University, was kidnapped from his home in Bokkos town, said resident Christy Musa.

The abduction followed an attack on Ngoksar village, Bokkos County on May 1 in which "Fulani terrorists" attacked eight Christians, killing two of them, she said.

Copyright © 2024 Ecumenical News