Human Rights Without Frontiers Focuses On Nigeria and “an outrageous betrayal of an already brutalized Christian community” in what has long been one of the most dangerous countries on earth for Christians. On November 23rd Fulani herdsmen killed two more farmers in Plateau state and, earlier, around 40 were slain in Kaduna state. CSI reports that a Kaduna State journalist was jailed after reporting attacks on Christians

Nov 27, 2021 | Uncategorized

Human Rights Without Frontiers Focuses On Nigeria and “an outrageous betrayal of an already brutalized Christian community” in what has long been one of the most dangerous countries on earth for Christians. On November 23rd Fulani herdsmen killed two more farmers in Plateau state, and earlier 38 were slain in Kaduna state.
NIGERIA   The US officially turns a blind eye to Nigeria’s endangered Christians   By Lela Gilbert 
  Providence (23.11.2021) – https://bit.ly/3FLRqgH – After decades of disturbing eyewitness reports, today’s international religious freedom observers have become deeply concerned about Nigeria’s imperilled Christian communities.   On Friday, November 19, just hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched his first diplomatic outreach to Africa, we learned that the United States has inexplicably removed Nigeria from its State Department list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). To some, that may sound like innocuous paperwork or an ambassadorial feel-good gesture. But, in fact, this de-listing of Nigeria’s CPC designation is an outrageous betrayal of an already brutalized Christian community. And it forebodes multiplied death squads, torched villages and farmlands, and devastated homeless refugees.   After years of well-documented massacres and mutilated survivors, the Trump administration began to look more closely at the Islamist targeting of Nigerian Christians. Announced by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Nigeria’s Country of Particular Concern designation was made in early December 2020.   The US State Department explains that CPC-designated countries have “engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom” during the reporting period. The International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) defines particularly severe violations of religious freedom as “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, including violations such as torture, degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, abduction or clandestine detention, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.”   Nigeria has long been one of the most dangerous countries on earth for Christians. According to Voice of America in early 2021:   A report by the US-based Christian persecution monitoring group Open Doors shows the number of Christians killed in 2020 increased by 60%, mostly because of Islamic violence against Nigerian Christians. The study says more than 2,200 of 4,761 Christians killed around the world in 2020 died in Nigeria because of radical Islamists… Another US-based organization, International Christian Concern, estimates 50,000 to 70,000 Christians have died in violent attacks in Nigeria over 18 years, mostly carried out by Boko Haram terrorists or arms-wielding gangs.   How dangerous is the situation in Nigeria? Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who also serves on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, estimates that as many as 8,000 Christians have been murdered in cold blood between January and September this year. Meanwhile, the Nigerian government does almost nothing—and the Biden administration has decided to do even less.   Perkins writes:   In a move that rocked the international community, the President’s State Department decided to drop Nigeria as a “country of particular concern.” Nigeria, where more Christians are killed than anywhere else on the face of the planet, American leaders have suddenly decided to turn their backs and walk away. Most human rights groups, religious and non-religious, were aghast. The situation is the worst it’s ever been, and it’s deteriorating by the day. If America ignores what’s happening there, it will only excuse Nigerian leaders who do the same. International pressure is one of the only weapons the world has to stop this slow-motion war.   In short, the CPC designation makes possible the application of economic sanctions as a form of penalizing rogue regimes. So, after other non-economic policy options—meant to end particularly severe violations of religious freedom—have reasonably been exhausted, “an economic measure generally must be imposed.”   With violence escalating in Nigeria, it is hard to believe that any concrete changes have taken place with Nigeria’s radicalized leadership. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump personally confronted President Muhammadu Buhari about the abuses of Christians—but to no avail.   “We’ve had very serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria,” Trump told Buhari at a White House press conference. “We’re going to be working on that problem,” Trump said, “and working on that problem very, very hard because we can’t allow that to happen.”   Meanwhile, who can explain the behind-the-scenes negotiations that led to this recent decision to drop the CPC designation? No explanation has been provided, and speculation is futile.   Increasing numbers of frustrated voices are responding to this mystifying US move, which apparently represents some sort of clandestine capitulation to the West African nation’s extremist Muslim regime. And embattled Nigerian pastor, Rev. Joseph Hayab, chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, could not have expressed his perspective more clearly:   How can they say the situation is improving when on Oct. 31, a whole Baptist congregation of 66 people [was] abducted, and just last night, the bandits put out a video saying they are doing it because they are against Christians? What he [Blinken] did baffles us, because Christians in Nigeria and others suffering persecution feel like they cannot rely on the US government to help them.   That is like telling a sick man in the hospital to go home to die.   The questions remain, What hidden motive lies behind the Biden regime’s reversal of Nigeria’s Country of Particular Concern designation? And what can distressed international religious freedom advocates do about it?   Photo : Secretary of State Anthony J Blinken participates in a virtual US-Nigeria Health Partnership Event from the US Departement of State in Washington DC on April 27, 2021. Attribution : State Departement- Photo by Freddie Everett.     Further reading about FORB in Nigeria on HRWF website
NIGERIA Dozens of Christians slain as Nigeria moves off CPC list   Six are killed in Plateau state, 38 in Kaduna state.
  The Morning Star News (25.11.2021) – https://bit.ly/3p8EWcq – Less than a week after the U.S. removal of Nigeria’s designation as engaging in or tolerating violations of religious freedom, Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday (Nov. 23) killed two more Christian farmers in Plateau state, and earlier 38 Christians were slain in Kaduna state, sources said.   “This is the sad reality Christians have been forced to live with – total carnage and genocide against us,” said Samuel Achie, president of the Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA) in Zangon Kataf County, Kaduna state. The Nov. 4-12 attacks in Kaduna state have become the new normal for Christians in the areas, he said.   “These horrific experiences have virtually become a daily affair with hardly any intervention from the Nigeria government, as in all these attacks against Christians there’s been complete absence of security intervention,” Achie said.   In Plateau state’s Ancha village, Bassa County, Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday (Nov. 23) attacked the two Christians as they worked on their farm at about 2:30 p.m., area resident Moses Chohu said in a text message to Morning Star News. Daniel James, 32, and Zakwe Deba, 35, were members of the village Baptist Church, he said.   “They were shot to death by the herdsmen who were armed with AK-47 guns, family members who escaped the attacked disclosed,” Chohu said.   Herdsmen in late October sent a letter to Christian communities in Miango District, Bassa County, warning of impending attacks if residents did not evacuate their villages.   Christian residents forwarded the letter to military and police authorities in Plateau State. Tuesday’s (Nov. 23) attack on Ancha village was seen as fulfillment of the threat.   On Oct. 15 also in Bassa County, Fulani herdsmen killed three Christians and wounded two others in Nkiendonwro village, Miango District, Chohu said.   On Monday (Nov. 22) in Plateau state’s Tatu village, Barkin Ladi County, herdsmen attacked the property of Rwang Tengwong, a Christian rice farmer.   “My rice farm, measuring about two hectares, has completely been destroyed by herdsmen,” Tengwong said in a text message to Morning Star News. “Me and my family are now left with nothing to survive on in the next one year, as that’s all we have.”   In Riyom County on Oct. 23, herdsmen ambushed three Christians. Ibrahim Peter, wife Felicia Peter and Mary Ayuba were returning from their farms to their homes at about 7 p.m.   “The herdsmen were armed with deadly weapons like guns and cutlasses,” Ibrahim Peter said in a text message to Morning Star News. “They shot at us, and we all sustained gunshot wounds.”   The three Christians were treated at a clinic, fortunate to have sustained only minor injuries, Peter said.   “Crops we farm are usually destroyed by Fulani herdsmen on Sundays when we’re holding worship services in our churches,” he added.   On Oct. 6, herdsmen shot dead Philip Musa, a Christian resident of Yelwa Zangam village in Jos North County, area resident Thomas Azi said in a text message.   “Let’s pray for the protection of Christians in Plateau state,” Azi said.   Kaduna Killings   Fulani herdsmen killed at least 38 Christians in attacks on 11 communities Nov. 4-12 in southern Kaduna state’s Zangon Kataf County, sources said.   Achie of the ACDA said the attacks have become “high-level genocide.”   He said that Muslim Fulani militias killed one Christian in Yagbak village on Nov. 4; 10 Christians in Ahbuyap village on Nov. 4; three Christians in Asha Awuce village on Nov. 5; four Christians in Atakjeh village on Nov. 6; four Christians in Makomurum village on Nov. 7; one Christian in Zamawon village on Nov. 7; one Christian in Magata on Nov. 9; one Christian in Mayii village on Nov. 10; one Christian in Mashang village on Nov. 11; eight Christians in Kibori on Nov. 8; one Christian in Sako on Nov. 12; and three Christians in Shiliam on Nov. 10.   Area resident Williams Baba confirmed the killing of three Christian women by Fulani herdsmen in Shiliam village on Nov. 10.   “We have been living in such dangerous atmosphere of persecution from Muslim herdsmen for quite a long time now, and these attacks have resulted in loss and destruction of properties of unimaginable magnitude,” Baba said in a text message to Morning Star News. “We’ve have been left with nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep, as our crops and houses have completely been destroyed.”   Kibori resident Moses Bako confirmed the killing of eight Christians in his village.   “Kibori was attacked by Muslim Fulani militias on the evening of Monday, Nov. 8,” Bako said in a text message. “These herdsmen invaded us and started shooting randomly, resulting in the killing of the eight Christians, while many others were injured.”   The herdsmen also looted and burned homes, he said.   “And at Atagjeh village, a nearby Christian community, the Fulani militias on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at about midnight, killed three Christians and injured three others,” Bako said. Abuyab resident Celina John said herdsmen attacked the village in the early morning of Nov. 5, killing 10 Christians.   “Life here is miserable for Christians, I must confess,” John said. “The herdsmen came and attacked us, and because we are helpless, were unable to defend ourselves. Our houses have been obliterated completely, and we have been forced to flee to other areas.”   Removed as CPC   Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List report. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.   In this year’s World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.   The U.S. State Department on Nov. 17 removed Nigeria from its list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC), those that engage in or tolerate violations of religious freedom. Christian Solidarity International President John Eibner, among other aid and advocacy group leaders, criticized the move.   “Removing this largely symbolic sign of concern is a brazen denial of reality and indicates that the U.S. intends to pursue its interests in western Africa through an alliance with Nigeria’s security elite, at the expense of Christians and other victims of widespread sectarian violence, especially in the country’s predominantly Christian Middle Belt region,” Eibner said in a statement.   Besides violence against Christians in Nigeria documented by Morning Star News, CSI noted that in northern states that have adopted sharia (Islamic law), multiple Muslims are imprisoned for blaspheming against Islam.   “If the U.S. CPC list means anything at all – an open question at this point – Nigeria belongs on it,” CSI stated.   In the past few years Fulani jihadist militias have killed thousands of Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region and displaced millions, according to CSI.   “The goal of these attacks,” Eibner said, “is to weaken and eliminate indigenous non-Muslim populations from the region and entrench Muslim supremacy in this historically contested space, for the political benefit of Nigeria’s current rulers.”   A sharp rise in attacks led CSI to issue a Genocide Warning for Christians in Nigeria in 2020.   The State Department identified Islamic extremist Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa as “Entities of Particular Concern,” in regard to religious freedom, but it omitted the Fulani militias that terrorize indigenous Christian communities in Nigeria, Eibner said.   “It appears that the true purpose of Nigeria’s de-listing and the exclusion of Fulani militias as ‘Entities of Particular Concern’ is to pave the way for renewed cooperation between the United States and Nigeria’s national security establishment, which is dominated, as it has traditionally been, by Muslim political elites from northern Nigeria,” according to CSI.   CSI urged the State Department not only to return Nigeria to the CPC list but to re-orient its Nigeria policy around ending the massacres of Nigerian Christians and others and preventing the degeneration of the Nigerian state into further violence.   “It is a short-sighted policy that prioritizes cooperation with the ruling elite at the risk of genocide,” CSI stated.   Nigeria had been added to the CPC list in December 2020. On Dec. 10, 2020, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.   Fulani Muslims   Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report. “They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.   Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.   The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.   “In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”   Photo : Sultan Bello Mosque, city of Kaduna, Kaduna state, Nigeria. (Anasskoko, Creative Commons)     Further reading about FORB in Nigeria on HRWF website
Kaduna State journalist jailed after reporting attacks on Christians
Luka Binniyat @Facebook
Nigeria Report is pleased to present this original report from Masara Kim, an independent journalist working on the ground in Nigeria’s Plateau State, a region where Fulani militia attacks have killed and displaced thousands of people in the last ten years. Mr Kim is one of the most courageous journalists working to bring these atrocities to light, in an often hostile and dangerous reporting environment. 
  “Shortly after reporting on massacres that claimed the lives of 42 Christians in Nigeria’s Kaduna State, Luka Binniyat – a Nigeria Report contributor – was jailed by the country’s federal government. On 29 October, the American news site The Epoch Times published Binniyat’s report on the killing of four Christians in Jankasa town in the Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (a unit similar to a county) by Fulani Muslim militants on 26 October. The killings took place exactly one month after an evening attack by the same group killed 38 Christians in the village of Madamai, in the Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The report cites eyewitnesses as saying approximately 300 men who were wearing masks and dark clothing attacked Madamai. The government of Kaduna State, which is headed by a Muslim Fulani governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, described the attacks as “clash[es] between locals and some herders” and has refused to bring the perpetrators to justice. In his report, Binniyat, who is also a leader of a Christian tribe in Kaduna, quoted sources who accused the government of complacency in the attacks.  On 4 November, Binniyat was arrested and thrown in jail by police, on the orders of the federal government. Three days later, Samuel Aruwan, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Information and Internal Security, announced that he had asked for Binniyat’s arrest, since he felt personally threatened by Binniyat’s article. “I have been compelled to take the following necessary steps: I have reported the matter to security agencies; I have requested a thorough investigation by security agencies into the publication by Mr Binniyat,” he said at a press conference held in Kaduna, the state capital.” Read the full report at: nigeria-report.org   Nigeria Report is a project of Christian Solidarity International. Its goal is to spread awareness of, and promote solutions for, the widespread sectarian violence afflicting Nigeria. Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is a Christian human rights organization promoting religious liberty and human dignity. To unsubscribe please contact: morven.mclean@csi-int.org
Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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