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A week of mourning in Nigeria after Cristmas massacre

There have been at least 200 victims of the attacks against Christians during Christmas and thousands were forced to leave their homes to save their lives. A Nigerian bishops says that the state has failed to protect it's people.

In Nigeria’s Plateau, beginning on January 1st, there will be a period of mourning to honour the deaths of more than 200 Nigerian Christians killed during Christmas by Fulani Muslim herders.

The multiple attacks between December 23rd and December 28th led to the death of more than 200 people, and thousands were forced to leave their homes.

Governor Caleb Mutfwang said in a video statement that,

“I urge all citizens to use these days for intense prayers to seek the intervention of the almighty God in defending our territories against wicked men that have risen against us.”

Eighty villages were attacked, and over 200 people were murdered. More and more bodies of victims are expected to be discovered.

In a New Year’s message, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto, Nigeria, strongly condemned the attacks and the attackers, calling them “children of darkness” and “sons of Satan”. He blames the government and the security agencies for being unable to defend their citizens. He said that the bloodshed has continued for years now and claimed thousands of lives. He went on to say:

“The Nigerian state and its security agencies are blindsided.”

Bishop Kukah said that the people are hopeless, in despair and losing faith in their political and religious leaders. He encourages people not to take the law into their own hands and seek vengeance, but the anger and sorrow of the people can lead them to those ways. He wrote,

“We have cried enough tears. We may pretend that we are not at war, but truly, a war is being waged against the Nigerian state and its people. God forbid, but we could snap anytime, anywhere and for any reason”

Fulani Muslim herders have been attacking Christian farmers for years now, as they claim the farmers are taking away their grazing lands. The Christian groups reject these claims and appeal for protection from the never-ending attacks. According to the reports of Open Doors and Aid to the Church in Need, every year, thousands of Christians are killed in Nigeria. In 2003 alone, about 3,500 Christians were killed by the extremist group.

Bishop Kukah wrote in the appeal that,

“for us Christians, in the cross, there is salvation.”

He hopes this year could be the first step toward healing in Nigeria.

Source: UCAnews

Photo: Aid to the Church in Need

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