Nigerian Christians rue attacks on them over the Christmas period

(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.

Assailants went on a rampage on Christmas Eve in Nigeria's Plateau State, killing at least 96 people in 15 communities, police said and some media estimates put the number killed at 140, International Christian Concern said.

Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Okoro Alawari, issued a statement on Dec. 26 that 96 people were killed in two of the 17 local government areas — Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi — and 221 houses were burned.

"The Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, CP Okoro Alawari expresses grief over the deadly attacks that took place in some remote villages of Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State," Alwari said in a statement.

He said they were, "carried out by some yet-to-identified assailants on the December 24, 2023 at odd hours of the night, and sympathizes with the families of those who lost their loved ones in the gruesome attack."

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Dec. 26 condemned the Christmas Eve attack in Plateau State, saying "it is high time we moved from reactive to preventive measures."

It described the attacks as "a devastating blow to national peace and unity."

The organization said the burning down of houses, churches and the destruction of properties is criminal and also a direct assault on shared values of peace, unity, and mutual respect and have no place in the society and must not be allowed to prevail.

Also on Christmas Day the Nigerian Baptist Convention urged Nigerian President Bola Tinubu to urgently put an end to the killings of Christians in the Northern part of the country.

The convention also expressed sadness over the continued killing of Christians in Plateau State and other parts of the nation.

The church further berated the high level of insecurity in the country for the past years without any meaningful solution from the security agencies.

It called on all Christians to wake up and provide assistance to those who lost their relations and those who were wounded in the Plateau attack and are currently in the hospital.

The church also urged security agencies to provide needed security to every Nigerian and put a stop to the senseless killings of Christians.

According to the CIA World Factbook 53 percent of Nigeria's 231 million people are Muslims and most of the rest are Christians.


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