International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Muslim rioters have killed more than 100 Christians and burned down more than 40 churches in an attack that began yesterday in response to the election of Jonathan Goodluck, a Christian, as president of Nigeria. The rioters even destroyed the homes of many Muslims who supported President Jonathan Goodluck.
The Muslim attackers allege that the election was rigged and General Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim presidential candidate, is the rightful winner. Yet, impartial observers have called this election the fairest in decades. According to the Commonwealth observers’ report, “The elections for the National Assembly and the Presidency were both credible and creditable and reflected the will of the Nigerian people.”
According to ICC sources, it is difficult to know the full extent of the damage. The casualties could be much higher as the attacks took place over many of the 12 Muslim majority states in northern Nigeria. The situation is beginning to calm since security forces were deployed and enforced a 24 hour curfew. Christian minorities living in northern Nigeria have faced repeated bouts of violence and discrimination at the hands of the Muslim majority. Since the introduction of Sharia law in northern Nigeria in 2001, tens and thousands of Christians have been killed.
“Christians in northern Nigeria are being killed and their churches and property destroyed for voting for the candidate of their choice. Why should churches be burned when just it’s an issue of politics? Why should Christians be killed just because someone won an election? Goodluck is not the president just for Christians; he is the president for every Nigerian. Why should Christians suffer because Jonathan won the election?” said a Christian leader in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna.
Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, said, “We are very saddened by the violence against Christians and their property in northern Nigeria. Disputes over elections shouldn’t have been allowed to lead to religious violence against Christians. We have repeatedly seen Muslims attack and kill those of other faiths at the slightest provocation. We urge Nigeria to fully investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. As long as these attackers operate with impunity, the attacks will continue.”
www.persecution.org ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.