By Emily Watt | 19 February 2020
Nigeria | 90% of 2018 Christian Deaths Were In Nigeria
The 2019 World Watch List reports 4,136 Christians in the top 50 countries were killed for their faith. Nigeria alone accounts for 90% of those killed.
This violent persecution takes place in certain areas of Nigeria, not the whole country.
Most of these reported deaths were related to the Muslim-majority Fulani Herdsman conflicts or attacks at the hand of the Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram.
While Boko Haram continues it’s deadly attacks, the intensity of persecution from them decreased in 2018. In the same year, Christians killed by Muslim Fulani Herdsman dramatically increased.
Who Are The Fulani Herdsmen?
The Fulani Herdsmen are a semi-nomadic ethnic group living in the central regions of Nigeria, predominately in the Middle Belt. The majority of the Fulani herdsmen are Muslim.
There are factions within this ethnic group that have been behind the violent attacks that target Christian villages.
A Complex Situation
There are a lot of factors behind the Muslim-majority Fulani Herdsman attacks.
Open Doors' research unit reports that although there are socio-cultural, economic and political factors, the main motive for attacks is religious-based.
Their attacks target Christian farming villages, with multiple instances of churches being ransacked or burned. Many Christians have been forced to flee from the violence as armed attackers moved in and claim their lands.
If the World Watch List was scored according to ‘violent’ persecution alone, Nigeria would tie for top place with Pakistan in 2019.
Please continue to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
- Pray for the persecuted church in Nigeria to be strengthened in 2019.
- Pray that persecuted Christians hold on the hope of Jesus.
- Pray for the persecutors, pray they stop their violent actions and come to know they are loved by a forgiving and loving saviour, Jesus Christ.
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