26 January 2024

Death of Christian man sparks clashes between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria: please pray

Christians in Plateau State, Nigeria, are requesting urgent prayer after a Christian man was killed in Mangu, leading to violent clashes between Christians and Muslims. This is a developing situation; please pray too for Open Doors partners as they gather information and support the local church.

Smoke starts to fill the air in Mangu town as violence breaks out between Christians and Muslims after ongoing insecurity in Plateau State

Clashes between Christians and Muslims have erupted in Plateau State, Nigeria, after a Christian man was killed earlier this week by suspected Fulani militants. 

Christian youths, frustrated with the lack of security they experience, decided to take matters into their own hands and search for the attackers themselves; on 22 January, they set fire to several houses belonging to Muslim Fulani people. The Fulani then retaliated by setting fire to the houses of some Christians, and also The Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN) near Sabon Kasuwa in Mangu LGA (Local Government Area). 

A 24-hour curfew was put in place in a statement issued on Tuesday (23 January) by the governor’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Gyang Bere, who said the decision followed the deteriorating security situation in the area. Sadly, the violence continued the following day (24 January) when Fulani militants attacked five communities surrounding Mangu in the early morning hours, killing at least 30 people including women and children.  

The situation is in danger of evolving into a religious crisis between Christians and Muslims. The military is present in Mangu town, likely because of the curfew announced, and videos show them trying to disperse people gathered in the streets. 

Governor claims government is at work to end terrorist activities 

Only people on essential duties will be allowed to move within the local government area until further notice. All citizens, especially residents of Mangu LGA, are urged to comply and assist security personnel by providing reliable information to restore peace and order in the area. 

The governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang, said, “Some people are still determined to create an atmosphere of insecurity in the state, despite the government’s efforts to end the activities of terrorist elements.” 

He went on to express his sympathy to the families of the victims and the injured and assured them that the government will not relent in ensuring lasting peace in the state. He promised that the curfew will be reviewed as soon as the security situation improves. 

Those responsible for the initial killing last week have not yet been identified. 

Violence against Christians continues across Plateau State 

Sadly, this is the latest in a series of violent attacks in Nigeria in recent weeks. 

Between 16-17 January, there were renewed attacks in the Bokkos district of Plateau State: nine Christians have been confirmed dead.  

Officials say the victims died in three attacks. “Five people were killed while cultivating their potato farm at Butura Kampani,” said Bokkos local authority chairman, Monday Kassah. “Three others were also killed at their potato farm (on Wednesday) behind the university.”  

This comes less than a month after the series of Christmas attacks by Fulani militants on several Christian-majority villages in Plateau state, in which at least 160 believers were killed, eight churches burned down and an estimated 15,000 people displaced. On Monday 8 January, prominent Christian leaders from the state led a peace walk in protest of the most recent attacks on their communities. 

“The entire Christian community in Plateau State once again condemns in the strongest terms the unprovoked, wicked […] killings of innocent and harmless Christians on Christmas Eve in over 20 communities in Bokkos, Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State,” said Reverend Panya. “The timing of these killings on Christmas Eve and during Christmas celebrations has shown that the attackers had clear intentions and objectives, which were to target Christian communities, take them unawares and inflict maximum casualty on them.” 

Isaiah 2:4 says, “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” Please pray for lasting peace in Plateau State, Nigeria, and that Christians will choose the way of peace and put their trust in God.  

  • That God will comfort all the victims of these attacks, and bring His peace to this region
  • That the local government will take decisive action to bring an end to attacks against Christian-majority communities
  • For the church in Plateau State, that God will protect believers, give them the wisdom to show restraint, and help them continue to show God’s love in the midst of suffering.
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