Islamic terrorists kill 3 Christians, destroy church in Nigeria

Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Suspected terrorists from the Islamic State West Africa Province have killed three Christians and destroyed a church in an attack in a village in northeast Nigeria’s Chibok area, according to reports.

The attack took place in the predominantly Christian village of Kautikari in Borno state on Friday evening in which three Christians were killed and the building of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria was destroyed, Morning Star News reported Sunday, citing area residents.

Nigerian newspaper the Daily Post identified the deceased as Bulama Wadir, a traditional ruler’s son, and two internally displaced persons.

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The Kautikari community, which lives on the fringes of Sambisa forest, a base of ISWAP terrorists, was also attacked in mid-January, when 24 Christian women and children were captured and taken into captivity, with 20 of them still held captive. The four others managed to escape in late January.

A worship auditorium of the local Church of the Brethren in Nigeria was also damaged in the January attack.

Kautikari village is near Chibok, where over 200 girls were kidnapped from a school in 2014.

Chibok leaders were quoted as saying that their communities have been attacked more than 72 times since the 2014 kidnappings. After eight years in which 57 girls escaped on their own and others were released, 110 of the girls remain in captivity, according to the Chibok Area Development Association.

In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, Emeka Umeagbalai of the Anambra-based International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law said kidnappings of Christians happen for various reasons.

Boko Haram, ISWAP and radicalized members of the Fulani herding communities are motivated by money, while others are inspired by Islamic radicalism.

Security analysts say kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative industry in Nigeria as weapons are becoming available to militants in Nigeria thanks to war-torn Libya.

In Nigeria’s northeast, Boko Haram and ISWAP have killed thousands and displaced millions.

The U.S.-based persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern warns that the Nigerian government “continues to deny any religious motivation behind the attacks and has recently convinced the U.S. Department of State to do the same.”

Many have raised concerns about what they perceive as the government’s inaction in holding terrorists accountable for the rising number of murders and kidnappings.

However, last November, the Biden administration removed Nigeria from the U.S. State Department’s list of “countries of particular concern,” a designation reserved for the countries that tolerate or engage in some of the world's worst violations of religious freedom. Nigeria was added to the CPC list in December 2020 during the final months of the Trump administration. ICC identified the African country as one of its 2021 “Persecutors of the Year.”

“Nigeria is one of the deadliest places on Earth for Christians, as 50,000 to 70,000 have been killed since 2000,” the ICC Persecutor of the Year report states.

According to Open Doors USA’s 2022 World Watch List report, at least 4,650 Christians were killed between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, up from 3,530 the previous reporting year, and more than 2,500 Christians were kidnapped, up from 990 the previous reporting year.

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