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Escalation of Terror Attacks on Christians in Nigeria by Sven R. Larson

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Escalation of Terror Attacks on Christians in Nigeria

In less than a week, numerous terror attacks have rocked the states of Benue and Kaduna in northern Nigeria. Some of the attacks have directly targeted Christian communities, but the terrorists have also targeted infrastructure. 

On March 28th, the Daily Nigerian reported that terrorists had bombed a railroad line in Kaduna, forcing a passenger train with 970 passengers onboard to stop. The terrorists surrounded the train, sporadically shooting at it. Military units subsequently took control of the area.

Two days earlier, a group of 200 terrorists attacked a major airport in the same state. They disrupted air traffic and killed one airport employee. According to the Nigerian Tribune, this was not the first terrorist attack on the airport: last year, terrorists stormed the airport and kidnapped 10 airport employees.  

On March 24th, Christianity Daily reports, terrorists invaded several villages in the northern part of the same state:

Ten Christian communities of Giwa County in Nigeria were attacked by Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists on Thursday night, when they took about 100 community members captive and burned down a church building. An estimated 50 Christians were killed while a Catholic priest was also taken. 

The Morning Star News identifies the kidnapped priest as Rev. Felix Fidson Zakari of St. Ann’s Catholic Church under the Catholic Diocese of Zaria. The Morning Star News also reports:

In Benue State, Fulani herdsmen early Wednesday (March 23) killed three Christians, following the slaughter of more than 20 people in predominantly Christian areas of the state earlier in the month.

Violent persecution of Christians has been escalating in Nigeria since at least the turn of the century. In February 2021, the Family Research Council, an American Christian advocacy group, reported:

Since the dawn of the 21st century, and with horrifying acceleration in recent years, verified reports of murders, rapes, mutilations, and kidnapping of Christians in Nigeria have persistently increased. These attacks are frequently accompanied by the torching of homes, churches, villages, and agricultural fields. A July 15, 2020 headline reports that 1,202 Nigerian Christians were killed in the first six months of 2020. This is in addition to 11,000 Christians who have been killed since June 2015.

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.

For more information on the persecution of Christians in Nigeria, read Carlos Perona Calvete’s “Christian Persecution in Nigeria” and Jonathon Van Maren’s “The Slow-Motion Genocide of Nigeria’s Christians.”