1,000 Christians Killed This Year in Nigeria
Save the Persecuted Christians Reiterates Urgent Call for U.S. Special Envoy in Nigeria, Lake Chad and Cameroon Region
December 23, 2019
WASHINGTON—For many months, Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC), which advocates on behalf of hundreds of millions of persecuted Christians worldwide, has urged a U.S. special envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region because of extreme and heightened violence against Christians there.
In 2019 alone, reported The Christian Post, over 1,000 Christians in Nigeria were killed by Boko Haram and Fulani extremists, while another 300 Christians were killed in Cameroon. A separate Nigeria-based civil society organization reported that at least 2,400 Christians were killed in Nigeria in 2018.
“The Boko Haram insurgency is a cash cow for Nigerian Army commanders,” said Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians. “This is a nightmare for Christians in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. Last week, Boko Haram was again listed as an Entity of Particular Concern, and Nigeria has finally been listed by the State Department as a Special Watch List country after years of recommendations by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Why Nigeria is not a full-fledged Country of Particular Concern (CPC) is a mystery.”
Laugesen also pointed to a September report that said an unnamed Nigerian soldier watched helplessly as Boko Haram kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, but his unit was told by his commander to stand down. He further alleged that Nigerian army commanders are making money off the Boko Haram insurgency. By allowing Boko atrocities, and even encouraging them to continue, the money for the fight against them will continue to flow. At least 27,000 have been killed during the 10 years of the insurgency, she noted.
“Boko Haram is attacking and killing Christians ‘as punishment for following the cross,’ and the Nigerian federal government has failed to stop them,” Laugesen continued. “At best, they are powerless to do so, but most likely they are complicit in their crimes. How many Christians must die before the international community acknowledges the genocide of Christians being perpetrated by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region? The appointment of a special envoy by the Trump administration would be a positive first step to combating this endless reign of terror against Christians and other innocents.”
Last week, the U.S. Department of State added Nigeria to its Special Watch List (SWL) for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom,” along with Cuba, Nicaragua and Sudan. The announcement came along with the re-designation of Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom.”
“Finally, we designated al-Nusra Front, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa’ida, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Khorasan, and the Taliban as Entities of Particular Concern,” according to a Dec. 20 statement.
“The protection of religious freedom is a top Trump administration foreign policy priority,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the statement. “Persecution and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief exists in every region of the world. The United States continues to work diligently to promote religious freedom and combat abuses.”
Since May, Save the Persecuted Christians has implored the prominent law firm Squire Patton Boggs, which lobbies on behalf of the People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Cameroon and the Palestinian Authority—all regimes or entities that are state-sponsors of persecution—to cease representation. Read more here.
Save the Persecuted Christians has a mission to save lives and save souls by disseminating actionable information about the magnitude of the persecution taking place globally and by mobilizing concerned Americans for the purpose of disincentivizing further attacks on those who follow Jesus.
One method is through “The People of the Cross” exhibit, which features images, facts and quotes about the persecution of Christians in multiple countries, including Nigeria. Additional banners feature countries such as Turkey, North Korea, China and others. A majority of the nations highlighted on the banners are high on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List, including Nigeria at No. 12. The 2020 World Watch List is expected in January.
“The People of the Cross” exhibit has been joined by another, “Warfare on Women,” which reveals the specific terror-tactic used to demean and degrade female believers to instill fear into the heart of Christian communities. To learn more about hosting a traveling exhibit contact Save the Persecuted Christians or visit the website.
Reported in Aid to the Church in Need’s biannual report on Religious Freedom in the World, at least 327 million Christians experience persecution—a number roughly equal to the current U.S. population. They report 11 Christians are killed every day.
According to Open Doors USA World Watch List, 245 million Christians are victims of high to extreme levels of persecution (i.e., torture, rape, sex-slavery, expulsion, murder and genocide), an increase of 14% over 2018. Open Doors also estimates 1 in 9 of the world’s Christians experience persecution and that every month: 345 Christians are killed, often in public and without regard to gender or age; 219 Christians are abducted and imprisoned indefinitely without trial; and 106 churches are demolished.
Save the Persecuted Christians has developed a dedicated news aggregator—ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture current instances of persecution and to provide readers with an easy way to share these heartbreaking stories with others. Stories are categorized and resource reports are easily accessible.
With so much of the world’s Christian population being attacked, imprisoned and/or exiled for their beliefs, such as Christians in Nigeria, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.
To interview a Save the Persecuted Christians representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.