2020 is already proving to be a deadly year for innocent Christians in Nigeria.
Boko Haram – the Nigerian jihadist militia pledged to ISIS – just beheaded a Christian pastor who, weeks ago, was shown in a hostage video telling the world: “Don’t cry. Don’t worry. But thank God for everything.”
As reported in the New York Times, Pastor Lawan Andimi was executed by Boko Haram and his hometown attacked:
Islamic militants in Nigeria have killed a Christian pastor who had pleaded for his life in a video just days earlier, and a human rights activist said Tuesday that other extremists attacked his hometown on the same day.
The Rev. Lawan Andimi was abducted earlier this month when Boko Haram militants attacked the Michika local government area, where he was the chairman of a local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria. He was killed on Monday.
Anyone who has seen the video knows that Rev. Andimi did not plead for his life. In fact, he was calm, and even appeared to be at peace, trusting in God and stating:
By the grace of God, I will be together with my wife, my children, and my colleagues. [But] if the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God . . . I have never been discouraged because all conditions that one finds himself in is in the hands of God.
The unshakable faith of this pastor should be humbling to every Christian. The fact that he was executed by Islamic radicals because of his faith should infuriate every human being.
In the same week, another group of jihadists reportedly murdered two Christian teenage girls.
[Muslim Fulani] herdsmen on motorbikes rode into Gora-Gan village in Zango Kataf County at about 5 p.m. shooting villagers on sight, according to a local resident. Luka Biniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), confirmed the killing of Briget Philip, 18, and Priscilla David, 19.
Other young Christians were injured in the attack, including a 12-year-old.
The evil of these jihadists seems to know no limit. According to the New York Times, the Islamic State has even used or forced children to execute Christians:
On Friday, the Islamic State's West Africa Province, known as ISWAP, released a video which showed a hooded child with pistol in hand execute a Christian man.
In the case of Rev. Andimi, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted:
I am greatly saddened by the fact that the terrorists went on to kill him even while giving signals of a willingness to set him free by releasing him to third parties. This barbarism is condemnable. We will ensure that these terrorists pay a heavy price for their evil actions.— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) January 21, 2020
However in every instance of violence, the Nigerian government has seemed unable or, worse, unwilling to do anything about it. The body count continues to rise, and Christians live in constant fear.
This deadly injustice has to stop. Nigerian Islamic terrorists are waging a horrific campaign of mass atrocities against people in their own country simply because they are Christians. And those they don’t kill, they take hostage and even enslave.
We’ve gone to the United Nations through our European office, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), demanding international intervention for Christian teen Leah Sharibu, one of over 100 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram at gunpoint almost two years ago.
Boko Haram is holding the innocent young Christian prisoner because she refuses to convert to Islam. The sinister group threatened to kill or enslave her. Until recently, we weren’t even sure if Leah was still alive. Thankfully the Nigerian government confirmed that she is alive, but she still desperately needs help.
We submitted a written submission to the U.N. Human Rights Council warning that the violence is boiling over into other regions, and asking for immediate action to stop the bloodshed and persecution before it’s too late:
It is imperative that the U.N. take swift action and work with the government of Nigeria to ensure that Leah and all others who remain captured are returned home safely and to put an end to the atrocities being carried out in Nigeria by Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen. No one should have to live under the fear of being abducted, enslaved, or killed.
Action must be taken to not only stop the spread of violence within Nigeria but also the spread of violence in west Africa. Boko Haram has in fact already begun carrying out attacks in neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.
If nothing is done to stop these violent radicals and hold them accountable for their atrocities, the outlook for Christians in Nigeria, and across Africa, looks bleak. We cannot let these Islamic militias hunt Christians into extinction.
As we stated in our submission:
The U.N. Charter calls on the U.N. to remove threats to peace, and the Genocide Convention calls on the U.N. to prevent acts of genocide, not merely to respond to them. We have seen in Iraq and Syria what happens when the U.N. fails to take preventive measures when it is clear that mass atrocities are being carried out against a particular group of people. This is only the beginning; if meaningful action is not taken now, the problem in Nigeria will worsen.
We ask every ACLJ member to pray for the family of Pastor Lawan, and for Leah Sharibu, that she is finally liberated from her evil captors, as well as for her family as they endure this nightmare.
We have a moral obligation to fight for our Christian brothers and sisters. All Christians have a right to live and worship in peace. We will continue to work at the U.N. and with world leaders until the violence is not only stopped, but action is taken to bring the extremist perpetrators to justice and prevent the bloodshed from ever happening again.
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