Tuesday, 13 February 2018
9 Churches Burned to the Ground In New Wave of Attacks
In Nigeria, a new wave of attacks has seen dozens killed in Christian communities across the country.
The violence has hit the northeastern state of Adamawa, one of the most affected by Boko Haram, and also the Middle Belt states of Nasarawa and Benue, where Fulani herdsmen have caused havoc in recent years.
In Adamawa state, a Christian student was killed, and others injured, in an attack by Muslim students at the Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTECH) of Yola, the state capital, on Feb. 4.
A local source, who wanted to remain anonymous, told World Watch Monitor that the incident started around 7 p.m., as some students were in their classes, studying for their exams scheduled the following day.
Other students were holding their fellowships in various places across the campus, when suddenly, a mob of fellow students, armed with sticks and machetes and chanting "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is the greatest), stormed the classrooms.
Christian students in one of the lecture theaters (Lecture Room LT2) were forced to flee after their room was set ablaze. They ran immediately to a Catholic church (still on the campus), where other students were having their fellowship, to prevent the assailants from attacking and setting it on fire.
Other students who were having their fellowship in another church, the Trinity Chapel (also on the campus), had to come out immediately to help.
Erick McBen Kyari, 25, a second-year Urban and Regional Planning student, was attacked, along with three other students. They were helping to evacuate other injured fellow students when he was hit on the head with machetes and sticks. He later succumbed to his wounds.
His funeral was held Feb. 8.
The assailants also destroyed nine out of 11 stores where Christian students keep their musical instruments, setting them ablaze.
The Muslim students said they were angered by a message posted by a Christian student on Facebook on Dec. 18, 2017. They said the message was an insult to their prophet, Muhammad.
In a message posted on Facebook, they warned the management that it had 24 hours to respond or they "will do whatever they feel it's right for them and nobody will stop."
The Christian student accused of posting the blasphemous message denied any wrongdoing.
Ajine Delo, president of the Youth Fellowship of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for Adamawa state, told World Watch Monitor that the accusation of blasphemy was only an excuse to attack Christian students.
"At the time of the attack, there was no single Muslim female student at the campus," he said. "They have all left since Friday, but nobody informed the Christian students.
"The assailants may have been angered by the elections of the Student Union Government (SGU) leadership, held on Jan. 29, 2018. The results had seen the emergence of Christian students on almost all the positions of the Union."
The university management condemned the violence and announced the closure of the university.