A mob of radical Muslims vandalized multiple churches in northern Nigeria and beat a Christian student nearly to death after he was accused of insulting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
International Christian Concern reports that the attacks revolved around an argument at Abdu Gusau Polytechnic in Talata-Mafara, Zamfara State, between a Christian and a Muslim student on Sunday.
The Christian was accused of blasphemy by other Nigerian students and was severely beaten by the angry mob. His life was saved by a fellow Christian and a compassionate Muslim who helped carry the victim to the hospital.
Radical Muslims then attacked several Christian campus establishments on Monday, with the attack spilling into town and targeting a number of churches.
"When I heard this from my pastor and one of my members, I immediately called some security officials because the radicals went on rampage in town," said Anglican Bishop of Zamfara the Rev. John Danbinta.
"They went to ECWA Church, Living Church, and Anglican Church. They vandalized the Anglican Church pastorium, destroying electronics and other property. I heard they also burned down the home of the rescue volunteer Muslim man (who assisted the attacked Christian student to the hospital), trapping and killing eight persons inside who, sadly, happened to be Muslims also," he added.
The bishop noted that that if it wasn't for security forces, the riot would have caused even more destruction.
ICC's Regional Manager, Troy Augustine, condemned the attacks in a statement.
"If Nigeria is to be considered advancing in human rights and religious freedom, the government must take concerted steps to curb such violence and prosecute the people responsible," Augustine said.
"Furthermore, Nigeria should apply the tenets of its constitution fairly across all corners of the country, protecting and maintaining a citizen's right to worship and to disagree freely without fear of any threats to their safety, extrajudicial or otherwise."
Nigeria's population is roughly half Christian and half Muslim, though radical Islamic elements have stirred conflict and tensions between the two groups.
Back in April, four gang members were arrested for the brutal murder of a Christian pastor who had tried to preach to them about Jesus Christ.
Authorities in Rivers State explained that Pastor Chukwu Ekere was killed "for the simple reason that the man of God disturbed them with his preaching of repentance and also for urging them to shun their nefarious activities and accept God."
Radical terror groups such as Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen have also been behind the deaths of thousands of Christians in the past several years, with the violence only increasing in 2016, as reported by the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans in July.
"Whatever the federal government is doing, if anything, is either too slow or insignificant compared with the reoccurrence of the killings; the federal government needs to step up and take bold actions to give members of the Christian community in the country a sense of security and belonging," Pastor Ade Oyesile, executive director of CANAN, said.