On October 18, 2018, Muslims assaulted a market in the north-central Nigerian Kaduna State. According to Morning Star News, the attackers slayed dozens of Christians and burned a church during their rampage.
Reportedly, the violence began when a Muslim man at the market in Kasuwan Magani, located approximately 22 miles south of the city of Kaduna, began strategically yelling “Thief!” in order to generate an atmosphere of chaos and anger. The crowd became furious leading to the later riots and attacks that mercilessly took the lives of so many.
Kefas Mallam, a resident of the area, informed Morning Star News, “A Muslim raised a false alarm about a thief in the market, which caused stampede, and then other Muslims started chanting ‘Allahu Akbar [the jihadist slogan, God is Greater],’ attacking Christians, burning houses and shops belonging to Christians in the town.” The pastor of the town’s evangelical church, Reverend James Moore, detailed how the perpetrators set fire to a place of worship associated with the Cherubim and Seraphim movement.
Moore remarked, “There was an alert of a thief in the market. When people heard ‘Thief! Thief!’ they were confused and started running. Unknown to the people, it was a strategy by the Muslim youth to attack the people. They went into killings, looting and burning.”
After visiting the carnage on October 19, 2018, Kaduna’s Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, revealed, “According to what the police have briefed me so far, 55 corpses have been recovered; some burned beyond recognition.” The Governor contended that justice would be served to the culprits who committed the violent acts maintaining that authorities “are going to deal decisively with anyone involved in this.”
He insisted, “I have charged the security agencies and the authorities here, local and traditional, to ensure that everyone connected with this, whether as a participant, instigator, or even watching while it is going on, is apprehended and prosecuted.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also disparaged the senseless violence. In a tweet, the president said, “The violence in Kaduna, which has resulted in the deaths of 55 innocent people, is condemnable. The Police have been authorized to do everything possible to restore calm. A Special Intervention Force has been deployed to the flash-points, and the IG will provide regular updates.”
Commenting about the attacks, the Vice President of the African country, Atiku Abubakar tweeted, “I’m saddened by needless loss of scores of lives following avoidable conflict in Kasuwan Magani, Kaduna State, in a pattern that has become too familiar. May the souls of the deceased rest even as no efforts should be spared to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Sadly, this type of violence is all too common in Nigeria where the majority of the population, an estimated 51.3 percent, are Christians. Approximately 45 percent of Nigerians are Muslims. Muslims primarily reside in the north and middle regions of the country. Less than a month ago, on October 3, 2018, the infamous Muslim Fulani militants brutally slaughtered 19 Christians in Nigeria’s Plateau State. A mere day later, four more people were killed and 35 homes burned to the ground in Nkiendoro village located in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.
On Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution, Nigeria ranked 14th. Open Doors reported that Nigerians who live in the southern part of the nation enjoy religious freedom. However, in the Islamic strongholds of northern and central Nigeria, Christians’ experiences are decidedly different. According to Open Doors, in these regions, “Death, physical injury and loss of property are commonplace, as well as loss of land and livelihood.”
The persecution watchdog’s website also revealed, “In northern Nigeria, society as a whole treats Christians as second-class citizens who deserve to be discriminated against and excluded. Christians from Muslim backgrounds also face persecution from their own families who reject and pressure them to renounce Christianity. To make matters worse, corruption has made the government ill-equipped to protect Christians from violent attack.”
Pray for Christians in Nigeria and all over the world who are facing unimaginable persecution due to their faith.
~ 1776 Christian