Amidst the violence that is gripping Nigeria, the country’s Christians are being targeted by the terrorist group Boko Haram while the rest of the world is largely ignoring the issue.
Christians are being singled out for elimination by Boko Haram and Fulani tribesmen. So far in 2020, approximately 1,200 have been killed. In the last five years, the number has reached over 12,000.
Last month, five international aid workers were killed by terrorists from the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP), more commonly known as Boko Haram. A video of the killings was released by the Islamist group as a warning to “all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity.”
While the world has been aware of these atrocities, not much has been done about it. Back in 2010, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into the situation in Nigeria. He looked specifically at the brutalities conducted by Boko Haram.
The Office of the Prosecutor looked into six cases wherein Boko Haram had committed crimes against humanity and two cases where such crimes were committed by the Nigerian security forces. The six cases involving Boko Haram included the following violations:
- Targeting of non-believers which resulted in several deaths;
- Kidnappings and imprisonment of civilians, along with murder, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment;
- Attacks on schools and other areas designated for education as well as attacks against students and teachers;
- Recruitment and use of child soldiers;
- Attacks on women and girls;
- The targeting of buildings designated for religious practices (churches).
Attacking and abducting women and girls has been part of the modus operandi of Boko Haram. Boko Haram regularly subjects women and girls to physical and mental abuse, rape and sexual violence, forced labor, and more.
The Muslim Fulani tribesmen, mostly herders, continue their own brand of genocide against Christian farmers and anyone who stands in their way in central Nigeria, also known as the “Middle Belt.” With climate change, the herders are losing much of their traditional grazing lands. So, they have been taking land by force.
According to a report titled “Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide?“ and prepared for the U.K.’s Parliament, thousands have been killed by the Fulani and many more have been displaced by the violence. It is estimated that between two and three million people have been displaced due to Boko Haram and Fulani tribesmen attacks.
It has been reported that the number of Christians killed in Nigeria has topped 60,000 in the last 15 years.
Former Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf has blasted U.S. efforts in Nigeria to date. He is pushing hard for the creation of a special envoy to investigate the killings which he considers genocide. He said he was appalled “for America to see genocide and not do anything about it.”
It is feared that the attacks will only grow worse as terror groups, such as Boko Haram, are able to tap into terror networks worldwide support and keep acquiring arms.
The Nigerian government is denying the occurrence of such attacks. According to a statement by Garba Shehu, the spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, the “false allegations of persecution of Christians” are “a most misleading campaign.”
Boko Haram began in 2002 as a “non-violent” group whose goal was to “purify Islam in northern Nigeria.” The group was once aligned with al-Qaeda, but in 2015 sworn allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS). It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States since 2013.