Nearly 3,500 Christians in Nigeria have been murdered by Islamists during the first 200 days of this year, according to the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, with another 3,000 — many of whom are young women and girls — have been kidnapped over the course of the same time period.
The report, outlined by Crux and reported on by Breitbart revealed the severity of the uptick in bloodshed, explaining that the current tally of deaths is only 68 short of the entire number of murders committed against Christians in Nigeria during all of 2020.
As Breitbart further noted, the statistics suggest that an average of 17 Christians die in Nigeria each day simply because of their religious beliefs, and the Open Doors Watch List went so far as to claim that “more Christians are murdered for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country,” indicating the true crisis currently taking place in that part of the world.
According to the Crux report, it is the “Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen” group that is to blame for the lion’s share of Christian killings in Nigeria, having committed just over 1,900 of the murders in that category. Boko Haram, Muslim Fulani Bandits, and a group known as ISWAP reportedly killed another 1,063 Christians combined.
Yet another 490 Christians in the country were killed by the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force, and other military groups, according to the report, demonstrating just how dangerous the situation is for believers at present.
Shockingly, roughly 300 Christian church sites were burned, attacked, or destroyed in some other manner during the first half of 2021, with no fewer than ten pastors or priests having been murdered by Islamist actors.
Tragically, the report stated that “those responsible for the anti-Christian butcheries in the country have continued to evade justice and remained unchecked, untracked, uninvestigated and untried; leading to impunity and repeat-atrocities,” as Breitbart added.
Though the dangers faced by Christians in Nigeria are not a new phenomenon in 2021, Open Doors CEO David Curry has suggested that the recent global priority of fighting COVID-19 contributed to a rise in persecution of Christians and an absence of international vigilance in shining a spotlight on the problem, according to a report in Voice of America news.
While the U.S. State Department under the Trump administration designated Nigeria a “country of particular concern” over religious freedom violations, according to The Hill, it remains to be seen whether any real, concerted action will be taken by the international community to curb the egregious violence plaguing Christians in this troubled African nation.