Rioters attack Christian sites following arrests in Sokoto, Nigeria

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ABUJA, NigeriaMay 16, 2022 (Morning Star News) — Rioters angered by the arrest of two Muslims in connection with the murder of a Christian student in Sokoto, Nigeria, attacked three churches and looted and damaged Christian-owned shops on Saturday May 14. ), sources said.

Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a 200-level student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, the state capital of Sokoto, was beaten, stoned to death and her body set on fire on Thursday May 12 after being falsely accused of blasphemy the Prophet of Islam because she refused to date a Muslim, sources said.

After the arrest of two Muslim suspects, Muslim rioters lit bonfires and damaged the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral, St. Kevin’s Catholic Church and an Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) building in Sokoto, said locals. Yakubu was a member of the ECWA church in his home town of Tungan Magajiya, Rijau County in Niger State.

Local Muslims demanding the release of the two suspects gathered in strategic areas of the city then marched to the palace of the Sultan of Sokoto, leader of Nigeria’s Muslims, demanding the release of the two Muslims believed to be in origin of Yakubu’s murder, locals mentioned.

“Hundreds of Muslims here in Sokoto this morning converged at various locations in the city to protest the arrest of two Muslims involved in the murder of Deborah, the Christian student at Shehu Shagari College of Education,” Angela Anthony said. , a local resident. text message. “Despite the efforts of the police and other security agencies to prevent them from becoming violent in their protest, these Muslims still managed to attack and destroy two churches, the Catholic Cathedral and the ECWA Church in Sokoto.”

Sokoto resident Precious Arigu asked for prayer.

“So far, two churches [were damaged] and dozens of Christian-owned shops were looted and then destroyed by these Muslims,” Arigu said. “Please pray for those of us who are Christians and live in Sokoto.”

Rev. Christopher Omotosho, spokesman for the Diocese of Sokoto, said protesters also smashed the windows of Bishop Lawton’s secretariat in the diocese and vandalized a bus parked at the scene. They also attacked the diocese’s Bakhita center on Aliyu Jodi Road and set fire to a bus there, Omotosho said.

“St. Kevin’s Catholic Church, Gidan Dere, Eastern Bypass, was also attacked and partly burnt down,” he said. .”

Police are said to have started searching for other people who appeared in a video recording of the murder posted on social media.

Some of the rioters angry with the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, for condemning the murder surrounded his palace shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allahu Akbar [God is greater]”, a resident of the region told Agence France-Presse (AFP). When the rioters refused to leave, the police and soldiers threw tear gas canisters and fired into the air to disperse them, said the resident quoted by AFP.

The mob then tried to loot Christian-owned shops but were dispersed by security patrol teams, another resident told AFP.

Sokoto Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal declared a 24-hour curfew in the city on Saturday (May 14). Rev. Stephen Baba Panya, president of ECWA, called on the governor to ensure justice.

“The brutal murder and burning of Deborah by some misguided Muslim students is nothing less than blatant criminality which we at ECWA strongly condemn,” Pastor Panya said. “We therefore call on the Sokoto State Government, under the leadership of His Excellency, Aminu Tambuwal, to deliberately ensure that no measure is left behind to ensure that justice is not only seen to be done. , but is actually rendered.”

He said ECWA has also called on President Mohammadu Buhari to ensure justice.

“Deborah may be just a young girl whose precious life and ambition have been sorely cut short, but the whole world is watching, waiting and crying out for justice here on earth, if not in heaven,” said Pastor Panya . “In this midnight hour of our nation, at this very trying and distressing moment, our thoughts are with the parents, siblings and all of Miss Deborah’s family and all who mourn her death; we encourage you to take comfort in the fact that no matter what it may look like, Deborah’s martyrdom will never be in vain. Light will always prevail over the forces of darkness.

Reverend Joseph Daramola, secretary general of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said in a statement that the Nigerian government’s failure to prosecute Muslims who killed Christians over false allegations of blasphemy has fueled such acts. criminals.

“It is the failure of security agencies and the government to speak out against such crimes in the past that gave birth to terrorists and bandits,” said Pastor Daramola. “And until the state brings these beasts and criminals into our midst to reserve, society will continue to be their battleground as well.”

Acknowledging that the Sultan of Sokoto condemned the crime and called on security agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice, Pastor Daramola called on all “teachers and preachers of religious intolerance, extremism and terrorism to repent before the wrath of God befalls them if the state fails to get them to book.

“Killing in the name of blasphemy is ungodly, satanic, senseless, reprehensible and totally unacceptable,” he said. “This is not a stone age, and Nigeria is not a banana republic. Nigeria remains a non-religious state where no religion is superior to another. We recognize and welcome the restraint of Christian students of the college who refused to embrace the retaliatory attacks against those who murdered their colleague. We pray that these vampires in religious garb do not push the country into a religious war.

Shepherds kill 36 Christians

In Benue state, central Nigeria, Fulani herders suspected of collaborating with extremist Muslim terrorists killed around 36 Christians in multiple attacks last month, sources said.

In Tarka County, around 15 Christians were killed in an attack on the village of Tiortyu at 2 a.m. on April 12 that killed a grandfather and injured his young granddaughter, said the mother of daughter, Faith Iorshie, to Morning Star News by phone.

“About 15 Christians were killed when Fulani terrorists attacked our village, Tiortyu,” Iorshie said. “I escaped the attack but grandfather took my 2 year old daughter and tried to run away with her and was shot and killed while my daughter was shot and wounded. We are currently in a hospital where she is being treated. Pray with us that God saves her life.

Iorshie, 25, said she and her family are members of the Universal Reformed Christian Church (NKST in Nigeria) in her village.

The attacks in Logo, Kwande, Tarka and Guma counties added to the recent displacement of around 2 million people in Benue State and adjoining areas of Nasarawa and Taraba States. The displaced have taken refuge in camps for internally displaced people in Benue state, government officials said.

Two Christians were also killed in Logo County, 10 in Kwande County and 9 in Guma County, sources said. In Logo, Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked Tse Tune on April 29, killing two Christians who worked on their farms, said Nathaniel Ikyur, spokesman for the Benue governor’s office.

“The two Christians killed by the bandits are Terkende Injarwua and Mfaiga Ukor,” Ikyur said in a statement. “Their corpses were removed from their farms and buried.”

In Kwande County, shepherds attacked Waya, Jato-Aka and Turan on the night of April 21, killing 10 Christians, residents said. Lawrence Akerigba identified some of those killed as Gbaeren Orsoo, Terdoo Tsega, Bemdoo Tsega, Abacha Tsega, Terkaa Tsega, Aôndoaseer Tyov, Iorhen Atim and Aôndowase Igba.

Tartor Chianson, a country council official, confirmed the attack.

“Ten Christians were killed in the attack on three communities in Kwande local government area,” Chianson said. “The corpses of those killed were recovered and taken to the morgue of Jato Aka Hospital.”

In Guma County, Fulani herdsmen killed nine Christians on the night of April 11, sources said.

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom said officials had called for help with no response.

“It is becoming more and more blatant every day that Christians are now an endangered species in Nigeria,” he said in a statement. “We cried out for help against these Muslim invaders, but nothing happened. We are left alone and it seems to be a deliberate strategy to eliminate us because of our Christian faith.

Nigeria leads the number of Christians killed for their faith last year (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021) with 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 report on the list. global surveillance. The number of kidnapped Christians was also the highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, compared to 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria is second only to China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch list of countries where it is hardest to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.

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Related:

Christian student from Sokoto, Nigeria stoned to death

Article originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.

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