A church, hospital and homes were torched in the latest attack in the country’s religious crisis which has seen thousands of Christians killed in what is being called “ethnic cleansing”.
Attackers arrived in the village of Rahwol-Fwi, central Nigeria, on motorcycles in the middle of the night, executing an hour-long raid before the military intervened.
At least 17 homes were torched by the gang, who then set fire to the Baptist church, the vicarage and a government run hospital.
Major Umar Adams, spokesman of the military Special Task Force, said four people had been arrested in connection with the attack and the force had been ordered to relocate its headquarters to the troubled area.
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There is no doubt that the sole purpose of these attacks is aimed at ethnic cleansing
Christian Association of Nigeria
Campaigners are warning it is just the latest example of “pure genocide” in a country ravaged by religious division.
The attack comes just days after 238 Christians were killed at the weekend in a number of attacks by militia in Plateau State, a region in the heart of the country.
According to the Christian Association of Nigeria, 6,000 Christian worshippers have already been killed this year.
Map of Nigeria GETTY
The attack happened in the centre of Nigeria – west Africa
They said: “There is no doubt that the sole purpose of these attacks is aimed at ethnic cleansing, land grabbing and forceful ejection of the Christian natives from their ancestral land and heritage.
“What is happening in Plateau state and other select states in Nigeria is pure genocide and must be stopped immediately.”
Release International has been monitoring Christian persecution in the country. Spokesman Paul Robinson has said: “These murderous raids beg important questions.
“Why is the military apparently powerless to stop the slaughter of unarmed farmers?
Protesters in Nigeria GETTY
Protesters against the killing of Christians in Nigeria
“Who is arming and training these Fulani militants? And whose agenda does this killing of mainly Christian communities serve?
“These long-running attacks by Boko Haram and the heavily armed Fulani point to a strategy to drive Christians from the north of Nigeria.
“The government of Nigeria must protect its vulnerable Christian communities in the north.
“When claims are raised of cattle rustling, militants launch coordinated attacks on Christian villages and gun down unarmed men, women and children.
“It is leading to the widespread displacement of Christians from the north which the government seems unable or unwilling to halt.”