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'Sinister': What's Behind the Genocide That's Left 6,000 Nigerian Christians Dead

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New attacks against Christians in Nigeria are leading to demands that a special envoy investigate the gruesome outbreak of violence in the African country.

One man whose relatives were killed calls Nigeria the deadliest place in the world for Christians.

But who is really behind the murders?

Yes, the Boko Haram terror group is still a threat, but recent attacks against Christians in Nigeria are coming from Muslim tribal herdsmen known as Fulanis.

"What we have is a genocide. They are trying to displace the Christians, they are trying to possess their land and they are trying to impose their religion on the so-called infidels and pagans who they consider Christians to be," explained international human rights attorney Emmanuel Ogebe.

Ogebe recently lost family members, including a relative who was pregnant along with her husband and their children.

"They went into their home and they killed their four-year-old son and their six-year-old daughter who were asleep in their beds," he said.

The Fulani's weapon of choice? AK-47 automatic weapons – too expensive for most herdsmen.

"Given what an AK-47 goes for, a Fulani herdsman would need to sell all of his cattle to be able to buy an AK-47," explained CBN Nigeria Director Felix Oisamoje. 

Ogebe says there's a "sinister side" to those behind the attacks.

"A lot of these cattle are owned by very rich Fulanis who are in government and who are in power. So, there is a strong belief that the Fulanis, the ruling elite are actually funding the herdsmen to conduct these attacks," he said. 

According to the Global Terrorism Index:

    – Fulani herdsman have killed as many as 60,000 people since 2001.

And church leaders in Plateau State say:

   – Herdsmen have ramped up the genocide this year, killing 6,000 Christians so far.

Ogebe said by eliminating Christians, this group can dominate north and central Nigeria politically and economically.

Thousands of Christians need help to escape the violence.

"I know that The 700 Club, CBN, is in Nigeria so if people support CBN, we know that CBN will deliver to the people who are afflicted," said Ogebe. 

Oisamoje said CBN is dispatching humanitarian teams to the affected regions. They recently provided free medical care in north central Nigeria while sharing much needed spiritual comfort.

"I think one of the things we need the most is prayers. After all, the Bible tells us that we do not war against flesh and blood, so we know there are spiritual issues, so we need to pray."

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About The Author

Gary Lane

Mr. Lane currently serves as International News Director and Senior International Correspondent for CBN News. He has traveled to more than 120 countries—many of them restricted nations or areas hostile to Christianity and other minority faiths where he has interviewed persecution victims and has provided video reports and analysis for CBN News. Also, he has provided written stories and has served as a consultant for the Voice of the Martyrs. Gary joined The Christian Broadcasting Network in 1984 as the first full-time Middle East Correspondent for CBN News. Based in Jerusalem, Gary produced