A non-Governmental organization, The International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has said that no fewer than 2,400 Christians were hacked to death by jihadists in 2020.
The organisation said that the worst calamity was recorded within a fortnight to the end of the year when 200 were killed.
In a statement on Sunday, the Onitsha, Anambra state-based non-governmental organisation, said that this number further represents the same number of Christians hacked to death by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in 2018 alone
The statement, which was signed by the Principal Officers, Emeka Umeagbalasi, Barr. Obianuju Igboeli, Barr. Chinwe Umeche and Barr Ndidiamaka Bernard, said that the jihadists might have been buoyed by the electoral victory of Joe Biden in the November 3 US Presidential election
The statement said, “Nigeria recorded escalated and deteriorated number of Christian deaths in the last two weeks of Dec 2020 with additional death of 200 Christians; bringing the total number of Christians hacked to death by the country’s Jihadists and Muslim held security forces in 2020 to 2,400. This number further represents the same number of Christians hacked to death by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in 2018 alone.
“The spike in the killings in Dec 2020 is strongly believed to have been influenced by the US Electoral College confirmation of Mr. Joe Biden as winner of the Nov 2020 Presidential Poll. It could also be validly interpreted as a way the Jihadists wished to “celebrate” the emergence of Joe Biden as US President-elect and loss of same by outgoing President Donald Trump.
“To Nigeria’s Jihadists and their patrons in the country’s Presidency, “it is likely a season for continuation and consolidation of anti Christian butcheries, earning them immunity and impunity boarding pass under the Presidency of Joe Biden”.
“In the latest anti Christian butcheries, both Boko Haram/ISWAP and Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen have renewed and increased their attacks on Christians, their worship centers and other properties. In the last two weeks of Dec 2020 including the Christmas Eve and after Christmas, there have been unchallenged attacks on Christians and their churches and other properties including dwelling houses and farmlands.
“The areas that are worst hit by renewed Boko Haram and ISWAP attacks are Christian areas of Borno (i.e. Gombi and Chibok) and Adamawa (i.e. Garkida) and Damaturu-Maiduguri Highway where not less than 40 Christians have been abducted and ten killed since 18th Dec 2020.
“The Fulani Herdsmen’s jihadist attacks on Christians and their properties have also increased dangerously since Dec 2020 and Christmas season and have been concentrated in Southern Kaduna where not less than 40 Christians have been hacked to death since 17th Dec 2020 as well as Benue State.
“There has also been an increase in attacks targeted at Christian communities in Munya, Rafi, Shiroro, Bosso and Mashegu Local Government Areas of Niger State where not less than 20 persons have been killed and over 40 abducted since 14th Dec 2020.
On the 200 Christians who died between December 15 and 31, Intersociety said, that the slain Christians included those abducted on religious grounds and likely to have been killed in captivity including five abducted from Garkida (Adamawa) by ISWAP Jihadists on Christmas Eve and beheaded on 29th Dec 2020.
It added that out of the about 200 Christian deaths, Boko Haram/ISWAP accounted for about 130 while Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen/Fulani Bandits took responsibility for remaining 70 Christian deaths. In all these, the Nigerian security forces have not only continued to wobble and look the other side, but also become ‘alarmists’ by only “alerting Nigerians particularly Christians of imminent attacks after which they (security forces) slumber and do nothing.
Quoting statistics from communities and Christian organisations, Intersociety said, “According to a local source and church leader, the unreported number of Christians killed since the beginning of Dec 2020 by Boko Haram/ISWAP including abducted Christian travelers and rural others especially in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno States is nothing less than 60.”