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Hundreds of Nigerian Christians Killed in Recent Attacks

Officials blame fighters targeting “ethnoreligious minorities as well as houses of worship and religious ceremonies.”

At least 450 Christians have died in a series of attacks on Christian villages in three northcentral Nigerian states since May, according to reports from religious freedom advocates.

Christian death tolls include at least 300 in several attacks in Plateau state spanning May 15–17, according to reports from Morning Star News (MSN) and CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide); more than 100 in attacks spanning May and June in Benue state, MSN and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reported; and 43 in Nasarawa state in mid-May, MSN reported.

Tens of thousands were displaced, according to MSN and CSW. Whole villages, dozens of church buildings and thousands of homes reportedly were destroyed. Grain was looted.

MSN quoted Christian leaders in blaming the attacks on militant Fulani herdsmen.

“As our people are fleeing, herders are occupying these areas and grazing freely on our farms,” MSN quoted a press statement signed by Samuel Door and Ephraim Zuai of the Shitile Development Association in Benue. “Though due to the fear of general insecurity it is difficult to move from village to village to gather exact statistics, hordes of lives have been horrendously eliminated in several villages across the land, such that the whole land is thrown into wailing and mourning.”

USCIRF referenced many of the attacks as ethnonationalist in a report it released June 9.

“Nigeria is home to a plethora of armed actors committing violence with dire implications for religious freedom. In several regions of the country assailants have targeted ethnoreligious minorities as well as houses of worship and religious ceremonies with violence,” USCIRF said in the report, “Ethnonationalism …

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