Nigeria: Horrific Christmas Massacre

Source: FSSPX News

Between December 23 and 25, 2023, central Nigeria was the scene of deadly attacks carried out by “bandits”—according to the accepted terminology, referring to armed groups—in Plateau State, causing at least 160 deaths, according to a provisional report, and wounding more than 300 people.

The assailants attacked no less than 20 villages, with planned and coordinated maneuvers. The attacks began in the Bokkos region and spread to the neighboring Barkin Ladi region.

Gunshots could still be heard on Christmas day in Plateau State, which lies on the line dividing the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria from the predominantly Christian south.

A witness, a resident of Mushu village, stated that the villagers were sleeping when gunshots rang out. “We were not expecting an attack. The people hid, but the attackers captured many of us: some were killed, others wounded.”

The current information report is unfortunately only provisional. The date chosen for this terrible massacre is enough to assume that the victims are Catholic. As for the executioners, they are probably Muslim.

Plateau State, Nigeria

A Deadly Spiral, Especially Since 2017

Nigeria has one of the world’s highest levels of terrorist threat: several militant groups are active in Nigeria. Boko Haram is by far the deadliest.

Jihadist Fundamentalism

The number of Boko Haram attacks has recently risen. This fundamentalist jihadist group aims to liberate the country from Western education and to establish an Islamic State in Nigeria. It is responsible for thousands of deaths in Nigeria, but also in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

In Nigeria, the northern Borno State—where the group is mainly concentrated—is the most affected region. In 2016, Boko Haram split into two groups. Both groups consider themselves affiliates of ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS.

Conflict Between Herdsmen and Fulani Nomads

In 2019, the Fulani (also called Peuls) were responsible for around a quarter of deaths at the national level. Other deaths were attributed to ongoing conflicts between herdsmen and Fulani nomads. The Jihadist Fulani herdsmen have also killed thousands of Christians in recent years.

In total, more than 10,000 Christians have been killed in Nigeria by Boko Haram, jihadist Fulani herdsmen, bandits, or highway kidnappers. From 2011 to 2023, these conflicts have caused more than 22,000 deaths and displaced 300,000 people.

A Territorial Conflict That Has Turned into an Interreligious Confrontation

The conflict, essentially land-based, turned into an interreligious confrontation. Several bishops of Benue and Nassarawa States have denounced a “clear program of Islamization of the central Nigerian belt.”

Matthew Ishaya Audu, former Bishop of Lafia (now Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria), stated that “their goal is to strike Christians,” adding that “the government does nothing to stop them, because President Buhari is himself a member of the Fulani tribe” (president of the country from 2015 to 2023).