(ANS) — An uneasy calm prevailed in Plateau state, Nigeria today following the killing of hundreds of Christians early yesterday morning in three farming villages near Jos by ethnic Fulani Muslims, according to Compass Direct News.
The mostly ethnic Berom victims included many women and children killed with machetes by rampaging Fulani herdsmen. About 75 houses were also burned, according to Compass.
State Information Commissioner Gregory Yenlong confirmed that about 500 persons were killed in the attacks, which took place mainly in Dogo Nahawa, Zot and Rastat villages, reported Compass.
“We were woken up by gunshots in the middle of the night, and before we knew what was happening, our houses were torched and they started hacking down people,” survivor Musa Gyang told media.
The assailants reportedly came on foot from a neighboring state. Security forces had been alerted about a possible attack on the villages but did not act in time.
The attack on Sunday is the latest in several religious clashes in the state in recent months that have claimed lives and property. Plateau state is a predominantly Christian state in a country almost evenly divided between Christians and Muslims. The Muslim minority has been contesting ownership of some parts of the state, leading to frequent clashes, according to Compass.
Bishop Andersen Bok, national coordinator of the Plateau State Elders Christian Fellowship, along with group Secretary General Musa Pam, described the attack as yet another “jihad and provocation on Christians.”
“Dogo Nahawa is a Christian community,” the Christian leaders said in a statement. “Eyewitnesses say the Hausa Fulani Muslim militants were chanting ‘Allah Akbar,’ (God is great), broke into houses, cutting human beings, including children and women with their knives and cutlasses.”
“Since the first of the year the violence against Christians in the Jos area has increased,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. “This weekend’s slaughter of Christians, which included many women and children, is horrific.
“Please pray with me for peace to come to this region of Nigeria. Pray that the violence will not spread. And pray for wisdom for acting President Goodluck Jonathan.”
Jonathan called an emergency meeting with all security service chiefs on Monday to discuss strategies to prevent clashes spreading to neighboring states, presidential sources told Reuters News.
Twelve states in northern Nigeria have enacted Shariah Law (strict Muslim law). Northern Nigeria is ranked No. 27 on this year’s Open Doors World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview with Dr. Moeller, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
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