A Nigerian civil society organization estimates that about 620 Christians were killed and hundreds of homes, as well as churches, were damaged in Nigeria since the beginning of the year as attacks carried about by Fulani radicals and Islamic terrorists continue.
The Anambra-based nongovernmental organization International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, headed by Christian Emeka Umeagbalasi, released a statement Thursday highlighting the impact of the atrocities committed by terrorists across Nigeria thus far in 2020.
The report, based on days of forensic research, warns that militant Fulani herdsmen roaming the country’s rural Middle Belt states and terrorists affiliated with Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province in Nigeria’s northeast region have “intensified their anti-Christian violence.”
The group reports the killing of “no fewer than 620 defenseless Christians and wanton burning or destruction of their centers of worship and learning” in 2020.
According to the statement, Fulani radicals are responsible for killing over 470 people in the first four-and-a-half months of 2020. The group reports that Fulani killed 140 Christians from the beginning of April until May 14.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram is believed to have killed 150 Christians since January.
“The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists,” the organization argues.
“Houses burnt or destroyed during the period are in their hundreds; likewise dozens of Christian worship and learning centers.”
Intersociety relies on what it deems to be credible local and foreign media reports, government accounts, reports from international rights groups and eyewitness accounts to compile its statistical reports and updates, Christian Post reports.
A previously report by Intersociety shows that 350 Christians were killed in the first two months of 2020 by Fulani militants, highway bandits and the Boko Haram terrorist group in the northeast.
“This is on daily average of about five Christian deaths. On average, the Jihadist Fulani militants killed 125 Christians in January and February, respectively, and 50 in March.”
Since 2015, over 11,500 Christians have been killed in Nigeria, according to Intersociety. The killings are largely a result of increased terrorist attacks from Boko Haram splinter groups and overnight attacks carried out by radicalized Muslim nomadic Fulani herders against predominantly Christian farming communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.
Nigeria ranks as the 12th worst country in the world on Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians are most severely persecuted. Nigeria was added to the U.S. State Department’s special watch list of countries that tolerate or engage in severe violations of religious freedom in December.