Lawmakers sound alarm on slaughter of Nigerian Christians by militants

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by WorldTribune Staff, December 31, 2018

A Nigerian archbishop has joined U.S. lawmakers in calling on President Donald Trump to appoint a special envoy to respond to the slaughter of Christians in Nigeria by Islamic jihadists.

Although the majority of Nigerian are Christians, the nation is now headed by a Muslim government, a development that some critics blame on the U.S. administration of Barack Obama.

Mourners carry the coffins of the victims of an attack by Fulani herdsmen.

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law reported that more than 2,300 Christians have been killed in Nigeria in 2018. According to some reports, more than 16,000 Christians have been slaughtered in the Lake Chad region – Cameroon, Niger, Chad, and Nigeria – over the last three years.

“Sadly, Christians in Nigeria are under fire in what many are calling a genocide by sectarian groups like Boko Haram.” Rep. Ron Estes, Kansas Republican, told those in attendance at a Dec. 26 event at the U.S. Capitol organized by Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition. “The problem is serious and time is running out.”

Boko Haram, which was until recently affiliated with Islamic State (ISIS) and the Fulani, one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic Muslim groups, have carried out a brutal assault on farming communities in the region where Christians are in the minority, reports say.

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, in a new book, charges the slaughter of Christians was “facilitated” in 2015 by then-President Barack Obama. Other reports have pointed to endemic corruption in the nation’s security agencies which has weakened effective responses to militant Islamic terrorism.

Nearly 900 churches have been burned and a large number of women and children have been kidnapped and trafficked.

The Nigerian government of President Muhammadu Buhari has sought to play down the violence as a minor disagreement between different ethnic groups, some observers say.

Archbishop Benjamin Argak Kwashi of the Anglican Church of Nigeria said at the Dec. 26 D.C. event that it was impossible to dismiss the genocide being perpetrated by Islamic extremists as a simple “clash between farmers and herdsmen.”

“If you look at the geography of the killings from the beginning of Boko Haram, and even before that, you would have noticed that the killings are systematic,” said Kwashi. “They are deliberative, they are calculated and those carrying them out are well trained. Everyone knows that they are trained either by Al Qaida or ISIS. Everyone knows that they are well armed, they kill soldiers, they kill police. They overrun villages … in the most inhuman ways.”

Kwashi expressed “hope” that an American envoy could stand in a “neutral place” of “authority” and pressure the Nigerian government to protect its people, regardless of religious denomination.

“We need an envoy whose heart and voice will carry the weight necessary to stop the killings,” the bishop added. “We are [appealing] to the kind-heartedness of the Americans, the energy, the care, and the concern for justice.”

Earlier this month, William Amove Avenya, the Catholic Bishop of Gboko Diocese, said that “no one is doing anything about” the constant threat to Christians by the Fulani and Boko Haram.

“Fulani tribesmen, armed to the teeth, are murdering pregnant women and children, and destroying our smallholdings,” Avenya told Aid to the Church in Need. “This is a time bomb that threatens to ignite the whole region. We need to ask who is behind this.”

Avenya urged the international community “not to wait for a genocide to happen before intervening.”

Meanwhile, in his new book “My Transition Hours”, Jonathan, the former president of Nigeria and a Christian, wrote that Obama was involved in “facilitating” the persecution of Christians by prodding voters to adopt a Muslim-led government.

Jonathan, Nigeria’s president from 2010-2015, writes that, “On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing a video message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote … In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the ‘next chapter’ by their votes. Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the [Muslim-led] opposition to form a new government.”

Raymond Ibrahim said in a report for Breaking Israel News “that the Obama administration may have imposed its will on a foreign country’s politics and elections is hardly unprecedented. Recall the administration’s partiality for the Muslim Brotherhood during and after 2012 presidential elections in Egypt; or its unsuccessful efforts to oust Israeli prime minister Netanyahu with U.S. taxpayers’ money; or its efforts – with an admittedly unverified ‘dossier’ … to prevent then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump from being elected, or by discussing an ‘insurance policy’ in the event that Trump won.”

Ibrahim continued, “So in Nigeria, the Obama administration, it seems, sought to right the apparently intolerable wrong of having a duly elected Christian president in a more than 50 percent Christian nation.”

He noted two questions, is there corroboration for the claims, and is Buhari facilitating jihad on Christians?

Actually, the claims “appear to correspond with the former U.S. administration’s policy concerning Muslims and Christians in Nigeria,” Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim explained, “The Obama administration insisted that violence and bloodshed in Nigeria – almost all of which was committed by Muslims against Christians – had nothing to do with religion. This despite the fact that Boko Haram – which was engaging in ISIS type of atrocities: slaughter, kidnap, rape, plunder, slavery, torture before ISIS was even born – presented its terrorism as a jihad. In one instance it even called on President Jonathan to ‘repent and forsake Christianity’ and convert to Islam as the price for peace. The Obama administration, however, refused to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization until November 2013 – years after increasing pressure from lawmakers, human rights activists, and lobbyists.”

Ibrahim noted that the Obama administration only offered “generic regrets” if Christians were killed, but protested loudly, in a statement from then-Secretary of State John Kerry, when the Nigerian government killed 30 Boko Haram terrorists.

Then when a conference was scheduled in the U.S. for the governors’ of Nigeria’s states, the Obama administration blocked the visa of the region’s only Christian governor, Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim also noted since Buhari was elected, with the help of Obama, “Muslims have attacked Christians in ways that are being characterized as a ‘pure genocide.’ ”

“According to Rev. Musa Asake, the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria: ‘Under President Buhari, the murderous Fulani herdsmen enjoyed unprecedented protection and favoritism… Rather than arrest and prosecute the Fulani herdsmen, security forces usually manned by Muslims from the North offer them protection as they unleash terror with impunity on the Nigerian people,’ ” Ibrahim reported.

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