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Nigerian Leader Warns: 'The continuous killings of Christians might spell doom'

Nigeria Map AS
Nigeria Map AS

When Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari visited the White House this week, president Trump urged the African leader to do more to protect people of faith in his country.

"We encourage Nigeria and the federal state and local leaders to do everything in their power to secure the affected communities, to protect people of all faiths, including Muslims and including Christians," Trump told Buhari.

Trump said the murder of Christians is a "very serious problem" that needs to be confronted.

'We are deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians. It's a horrible story," Trump said during a press conference with the Nigerian president.

Trump was referring to numerous clashes that have recently erupted between Muslim Fulani herdsmen militia and Christian indigenous tribes in Nigeria's Middle Belt Region.

Just last week, 19 Christians including two priests were killed by Muslim nomadic herders during early morning prayers in Benue state.

Now, one of Nigeria's largest Christian groups is threatening to stage massive protests next month if the government doesn't put an end to the killings.

Bishop Simeon Okah, vice president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, says the majority of those killed in the country's Middle Belt region are Christians.

"They {Mulsim Fulani herders} want to see that anybody who mentions Jesus in the region is cleared and I can give proof of this," Okah told Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper. "Apart from the Middle Belt, we all know that there are killings all over the country."

Another prominent Christian group is warning that if something isn't done to stop the bloodletting, parts of the country could spiral into a religious war.

"The continuous killings of Christians might spell doom if urgent steps are not taken to curb the situation," said Archbishop God-Dowell Avwomakpa of the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Avwomakpa and other top Christian leaders are urging Nigeria's president to do more to stop the violence that has also claimed Muslim lives.

"Religious fundamentalists should stop the killing of Christians across the entire Nigeria landmass, both on their farmlands or churches, as well as release the ones in their custody," Avwomakpa said.

The central states of Nigeria are regularly affected by deadly clashes over access to water, food, and land. In recent weeks, hundreds of Nigerians have taken to the streets after the killings.

''I believe that President Muhammadu Buhari can bring these killings to an end," said Samson Ayokunle, a top Nigerian pastor. " I believe that if he rises up, these people will stop."

Ayokunle says the majority of Christians farmers are defenseless against attacks by Muslim herders.

"We don't carry arms. We will not carry arms. We don't teach carrying arms, but we can call on God. Our God is bigger than human ammunition", Ayokunle added.




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