Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "In Nigeria no fewer than 20 clergymen including at least eight Catholic Priests/Seminarians were hacked to death in the past 57 months and not less than 50 abducted or kidnapped.". This is what a report by Nigerian NGO, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) sent to Fides denounces. The report said that available statistics have shown that between 11,500 and 12,000 Christian deaths were recorded in the past 57 months or since June 2015 when the present central Government of Nigeria came on board. Out of this figure, Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen accounted for 7,400 Christian deaths, Boko Haram 4000 and the ‘Highway Bandits’ 150-200.
The report also states that most of the victims of Boko Haram/ISWAP (Islamic State in West Africa) attacks in Nigeria’s Northeast are Christians. On the part of ‘Bandits/Highway Kidnappers’ in Northern Nigeria, most of their rural victims are Muslims while many, if not most of their outlet or roadside victims are Christians traveling to Northern or Southern parts of the Country using the Birnin-Gwari Federal Road.
Targeting and abducting Christian travelers on highways particularly in Northern Nigeria who are mainly citizens of Igbo extraction have also intensified and taken a dangerous dimension in recent months-whereby the victims are separated at gunpoint according to their tribe and religion.
The latest victim of Christian persecution in the Catholic Church in Nigeria is the eighteen year old Michael Nnadi, kidnapped together with his three companions from the major Seminary of the Good Shepherd of Kakau, in the State of Kaduna, in northwest of Nigeria, by armed men in the night of January 8 (see Fides, 13/1/2020). While his three companions were subsequently released, the seminarian's body was found on February 1 (see Fides, 3/2/2020). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/3/2020)