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Muslim Terrorists Slaughter Record Numbers of Christians in Central Nigeria

On 22 May dozens of protestors gathered in Jos to demand action from the security authorities over continued killing of Christians in Mangu County since 16 May. Courtesy of Masara Kim for Truth Nigeria. 
On 22 May dozens of protestors gathered in Jos to demand action from the security authorities over continued killing of Christians in Mangu County since 16 May. Courtesy of Masara Kim for Truth Nigeria.

By Douglas Burton in Washington, DC & Masara Kim in Jos, Nigeria | Truth Nigeria | June 24, 2023

JOS—In Nigeria’s killing fields, grief and miracles go hand in hand.

On Wednesday June 21 a Plateau State mother wept a river of tears at the burial of her son who died defending his hometown.  He was among 7 civilian guards armed with rabbit guns who went up against Muslim terrorists firing AK 47 rifles. After a decade of radical Muslim terrorist attacks in Central Nigeria, he knew the odds.

At least 1,100 Christians have been killed in Nigeria by Islamic terrorists since the country’s Presidential inauguration on May 29, according to a Nigerian think tank.

The victims of the ongoing attacks — concentrated in the country’s Muslim-dominated north — include 20 pastors and priests, reports the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (INTERSOCIETY), an international nonprofit focused on tracking crimes.

Station Wagon riddled by terrorist bullets in Mangu town, Plateau State on May 16. Eight persons died in this vehicle, yet an eight-month-old girl, “Mani” survived. Her parents and siblings did not.  Courtesy of Masara Kim

Yet there are miracle survivors. Eight-month-old Manni survived two rifle bullets through her back while cradled in the arms of her mother who died along with her father and 50 other people, in a hail of bullets in Mango town in Plateau State  35 miles south of Jos on May 16.  Without detailed explanations from Nigerian authorities and largely unremarked by Nigeria’s own news agencies, the helpless citizens of Central Plateau State are without answers and assurance that the chaos of murder will ever end.

Changing of the Guard, No Change to Persecution of Christians

The terrorists ‘bidding farewell’ to the country’s former President, Muhammadu Buhari, and welcoming another Islamic-dominant regime, destroyed 100 Churches in the ‘bloodiest’ two-month period of this year, between April 12 and June 12, according to the Intersociety report.

Truth Nigeria has documented an additional 85 Christian murders in a wave of attacks that has ravaged central Plateau State since the night of 12 June, after Intersociety’s publication was released.

The latest attack, 30 miles southwest of Jos on 23 June claimed the lives of three young men who were attempting to earn a living at a mining camp close to their village of Tanjol in Riyom County.

The attack followed a complex series of attacks in Plateau since a massive invasion of armed terrorists into Plateau since May 16. The three young miners were murdered three days after terrorists killed seven civilian watchers 8 miles away in the same county of Riyom on Tuesday, 20 June. Another 20 residents were killed on the same day in an  evening attack in Mangu county, 35 miles southeast of Jos. The attacks 30 miles apart from each other on the same day suggest a coordinated military operation, according to Douglas Burton, a former U.S. State Department official and senior editor of Truth Nigeria.

The attacks in the Middle belt of Nigeria have been blamed on the herding clans of the Fulani ethnicity, who have reportedly killed three times more victims than the Boko Haram (Western Learning forbidden) insurgency in recent years. The predominantly Muslim Fulani tribe claims more than 10 million members in Nigeria and at least 20 million across west Africa.

On May 29, Nigeria swore in its first Muslim President and Vice President amid protests by Nigerians in the United States. The demonstrators, led by prominent human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe, gathered in front of the White House in Washington DC to demand the prosecution of President Buhari for his alleged involvement in religious-freedom violations during his eight-year term. The Biden White House had already sent a blue-ribbon delegation to Abuja to welcome the new president.

Prior to the elections, Nigerian Christians had expressed fears Tinubu would sustain Buhari’s legacy of religious persecution.

Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians, also told Truth Nigeria reporter Douglas Burton Tinubu’s victory would “Ensure a Muslim remains at the helm of the territorial and political jihad raging unchecked across the land and within the administration, judicial branches, and security agencies.”

Grim Start for New Nigerian Administration

During the first six days after Tinubu took office, media reports indicate that at least 78 people were killed by terrorists across the country.

The latest figures suggest that at least 2,150 Christians have been killed in Nigeria this year as of June 12.

The attacks largely have been ignored by both the Nigerian media and Muslim authorities, who have busied themselves with political appointments for the new administration.

In Plateau State alone, local families mourned the deaths of at least 88 of their own following terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists since the night of June 12. Truth Nigeria investigations reveal these attacks were not captured by Intersociety’s report released in the morning of June 12.

Nonetheless, Intersociety reported Plateau State had the highest number of fatalities in Nigeria, with a total of at least 350 deaths recorded  between April 12 and June 12.

Terrorist Attacks Gives Way to Mob Violence

Witnesses reported that around 1,000 armed mercenaries swarmed over two villages in Mangu County on Tuesday, June 20, resulting in the deaths of 20 residents. These attacks in Bwai and Chinsu villages reportedly followed religious riots instigated by Muslims protesting the alleged lynching of a Muslim gunman who had attempted to charge into a camp for Christian refugees in the county’s seat on Sunday, June 18.

Due to armed attacks that had claimed the lives of  more than 200 residents in the county since May 16, thousands of refugees had sought shelter in different locations within the city.

A pastor in Mangu told Truth Nigeria that tensions arising from the riots prompted the evacuation of women and children to safer areas, which helped keep the casualties low during the invasions on June 20. “Our vigilantes also did their best to slow down the attackers even though their weapons were just hunting rifles and local [homemade single-shot] rifles,” said the Pastor of the Church of Christ in Nations, Bulus Daset.

“What we are seeing is clear orchestrated genocide,” said the Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang, in a live television interview on 22 June. “What we are seeing is a plan to wipe out numbers of [Christians],” he said, refuting popular claims including by the U.S. State Department that the attacks are part of clashes between farmers and herders.

“A situation where people are sleeping in their houses and are killed in the night cannot be said to be a clash,” Mutfwang said, demanding a probe of terrorists’ supply chains.

The surging attacks signify “a terrible start” for the Bola Tinubu administration,” wrote Judd Saul, founder of Equipping the Persecuted, a humanitarian nonprofit based in Iowa.

“The main purpose of the government is to protect its citizens,” wrote Saul in a text message to Truth Nigeria. “Nigeria will never succeed as a nation until its leaders figure this out,” Saul wrote, adding, “The world is waiting to see what kind of leader Tinubu is.”


Authors: Douglas Burton is and independent reporter specializing in conflicts in Nigeria and the Middle East and is based in Greenbelt, MD. Masara Kim is a conflict specialist in Jos, Nigeria. Both Burton and Kim have been featured as news sources for Fox Nation, NTD TV, and the Westminster Institute and have been recognized with awards for religious-liberty reporting by the Catholic Media Association.

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