Christmas mourning in Nigeria

Christmas mourning in Nigeria

Christmas mourning in Nigeria

Nomadic herders in the African country chose to carry on with persecuting the Church on the Christian holiday.

Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen killed at least 140 people during a Christmas Eve rampage through 15 villages. The hours-long attacks happened in the country's central Plateau state.

The violence was reportedly the bloodiest in the country since 2018, when more than 200 people were killed amid clashes between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Christian farmers. It is not clear what triggered the Christmas Eve attack.

Some of the locals say it took more than 12 hours for security agencies to respond to their call for help.

"We have over 150 people that were killed in one day," Rev. Yakubu Mutong, pastor of the Church of Christ in Nations in Mayenga, accounts. "That is on 24th of December. That is a Christmas that was just not a Christmas … to celebrate. It was a mourning Christmas because of what happened to us."

Mayenga was one of 11 villages impacted by the attacks in which Christian houses and churches were burned, including Mutong's.

"As you can see, everything is destroyed, but we thank God that some of us are alive," Mutong says. "Because of this, I lost seven of my brothers."

Last year, more Christians were killed in Nigeria than in all countries where Christians are persecuted combined. The State Department could declare Nigeria a country of particular concern, which would permit sanctions against those responsible for such attacks, but Washington has made no effort to deal with it.