Nigeria is facing a serious threat from Islamic terrorist groups. Militant Muslims are waging an insurgency to overthrow the government and rid the country of Christians. After losing ground in Syria and Iraq, the US Special Operations Command in Africa is warning that Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other Islamic terror groups are now trying to take over parts of the continent’s most populous nation. Major General Anderson says Muslim terrorists have set their sights on Nigeria’s southern and northwest regions “So we are now sharing intelligence which is absolutely vital to provide the government of Nigeria with understanding of what these terrorists are doing,” Anderson said during a recent press conference. Their goal: eventually turn Nigeria into a Muslim country and force Christians, who make up half the country’s population, to either leave or convert to Islam.
“Christians are the eye of the target and they are coming after them,” warned Dede Laugesen with Save the Persecuted Christians. The numbers are staggering. Leading human rights groups say what’s going on in Nigeria is a genocide. “Over the last 20 years, there have been massive attacks against Christians,” Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern (ICC) said. “50 to 70 thousand have been murdered.” For years, the main terror group was Boko Haram, which seeks to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state. “They go after Christians and moderate Muslims, they push a hard-line Muslim agenda and it is their intention to establish a caliphate and to rid all of Nigeria and West Africa of any Western influence whatsoever,” Laugesen said. Now, there’s a new actor on the scene.
In Nigeria’s “Middle Belt” region, where the Muslim North meets the Christian South a terror group made up of Muslim Fulani herders are killing thousands of Christians. More than 1,400 Christians were hacked to death in just the first seven months of 2020 by Fulani herders. “Unfortunately, the secular media are quiet often biased and try to present this as a tribal conflict rather than religious,” said Petr Jasek, who is author of the book, Imprisoned With ISIS: Faith in the Face of Evil. Nigeria’s Muslim president has so far done very little to stop the bloodshed. His police and army are also mostly Muslims. “The attackers are never captured, they are not prosecuted, the security services respond very slowly, a full day can go on with attacks happening and no security shows up and frequently the government officials will provide cover,” explained Laugesen.
Helpless and vulnerable to almost daily attacks, leading Catholic bishops are urging Nigerian Christians to defend themselves. Human rights groups are asking the White House to appoint a special envoy to end the persecution of Nigerian Christians. “Unless the world takes note and applies sanctions and visa bans on the officials who are responsible for not reigning in the terror, then Nigeria will continue to be a bloodbath,” Laugesen warned. Meanwhile, King’s group is helping more than 3,000 Christians who have lost their businesses, homes, farms, or land to Boko Haram and Fulani militant attacks. ICC has created communal farms to give victims the opportunity to rebuild their lives. “When they get back to work, the family is fed, they have a future, the kids can go back to school,” King told CBN News. “It’s a restoration of hope and means a lot to them.”