Calls for 'Urgent' Security Review Follow Fatal Attack on Christians in Nigeria

LONDON – The head of U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide has called upon Nigerian authorities to "urgently" review security arrangements in the volatile Plateau State after another deadly attack on Christians this past weekend.

Ten people, including children, are believed to have been killed in the early Saturday morning attack on Mazah village. The Fulani Muslim attackers reportedly frightened villagers out of their homes by firing gun shots before hacking them down with machetes as they attempted to flee. They also burned homes and churches to the ground.

CSW said the attackers focused on important residents in the village, attacking the homes of the local councilor, the village head and a church leader.

The Rev. Nuhu Dawat of the Church of Christ in Nigeria managed to escape with one of his children but his wife and two other children were killed. His grandson Nanfa is reportedly recovering in a hospital after being shot in the foot and left for dead in the bathroom of his home.

Villagers claim that although security forces arrived at the village in time to stop the attackers, they stood back and remained outside the village until the attack had come to an end before entering.

Stuart Windsor, director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said it was a "sad time" for the people of Mazah.

"Once again, unarmed and peaceful villagers have been attacked and murdered in their beds, and once again there are indications that the security forces have not taken effective action, despite being in a position to do so," he said.

"We once again urge the federal authorities to urgently and comprehensively review the current security arrangements for Plateau State in order to ensure that vulnerable communities are protected and army units unwilling or unable to fulfill their duties effectively and without bias are brought to book."

Hundreds of Christians have died in recent sectarian clashes in Plateau State, which sits roughly in the middle of the predominantly Muslim north and Christian and animist south. Earlier in the month, armed men in military uniform shot dead seven Christians in Kizachi Dawai Chawai in Kaduna, just north of Plateau State. In March, an estimated 500 Christians were killed when Fulani Muslims attacked the villages of Dogo Nahawa, Ratsat and Zot near Jos in Plateau State.

The spate of recent attacks has led some to question whether the Nigerian government is doing enough to ensure the protection of Christians.

Just last week, Release International, another ministry supporting persecuted Christians, called on the new Nigerian president to take action to ensure Christians were protected.

Release CEO Andy Dipper said his organization was "appalled to hear of yet more violence against Christians, who have been warning for some time now that they feared further attacks.

"We appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration to take firm action now to ensure that the military and police carry out their full responsibilities and protect Christians properly," he stated.

"We acknowledge it is a huge task – but enough is enough."