'Pure Genocide': 6 Christians Killed, Baptist Church Destroyed in Fresh Nigeria Attacks
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Violence strikes Nigeria's central region again as the number of Christians killed in religious attacks continues to climb.
A mob of Muslim herders, riding on motorbikes, reportedly attacked the village of Rahwol-Fwi, in Nigeria's Plateau state, killing six Christians and destroying at least 17 homes. The gang then set fire to the local Baptist church, destroying the pastor's home and a nearby government-run hospital.
A spokesperson for Nigeria's military says four people are in jail in connection with the attack.
The violence comes just six days after a series of attacks by Muslims claimed the lives of 238 Christians in Plateau state.
"What is happening in Plateau state and other select states in Nigeria is pure genocide and must be stopped immediately," read a statement by Christian Association of Nigeria, a leading human rights group.
The Christian Association of Nigeria, also known as CAN, claims some 6,000 Christians mostly children, women and the elderly, have been killed in raids by Muslim Fulani herdsmen since 2018.
"There is no doubt that the sole purpose of these attacks is aimed at ethnic cleansing, land grabbing and forceful ejection of the Christian natives from their ancestral land and heritage," the CAN statement said.
For years, Plateau state has been the epicenter of violent clashes between ethnic Fulani and mostly Muslim herders and Christian farmers from the Berom ethnic group.
The attacks in recent weeks have pitted Muslims against Christians as both communities fight for scarce farming and grazing resources.
As Nigeria's population continues to explode, water and pasture are both disappearing, causing tensions to rise between the religious groups.
While some have sought to describe the attacks as a battle over dwindling land and farming resources, others increasingly view the conflict as a religious war between Muslims and Christians.
Some of Nigeria's prominent Christian leaders are blasting the country's Muslim president for not doing enough to protect its vulnerable Christian communities.
"We are devastated by these acts of insensitivity and disrespect for the dignity of human life," said Archbishop Augustine Akubueze with the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria. "We are equally sad that the Federal Government continues to find it difficult to proactively address the issue of these wanton killings."
"Words are no longer enough for the President and his service chiefs to convince the rest of the citizens that these killings are not part of a larger religious project," Akubueze added.
During last weekend's attack, a Muslim cleric reportedly risked his life to save hundreds of Christian farmers when a village in central Nigeria came under attack by suspected Muslim cattle herders.
"I first took the women to my personal house to hide them," the imam, who refused to reveal his identity for security reasons, told BBC News. "Then I took the men to the mosque."
The cleric reportedly hid some 262 men, women and children in his home and mosque.
Nigeria is Africa's most populous country. Home to roughly 186 million people, the nation is evenly split between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south.
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