Group petitions Pope over killing of Christians, burning of churches in North

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BY INNOCENT ANABA

A civil society organisation, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, has petitioned Pope Francis over the killing of Christians and burning of churches in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram and Fulani Jihadists.

Chairman of the organisation, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi in the petition, obtained by Vanguard in Onitsha, Anambra State, called for proactive lawful counter measures to curb the alarming trend.

The petition said “In the area of ethno-religious killings, which informed this executive summary, at least 6,000 people, mostly rural indigenous Christians and Igbo-Christians have been killed in the Jos ethno-religious violence since 2001, with those of 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2011 being the bloodiest.  As at March 2010, a total of over 13, 500 innocent people including women and children, dominated by Igbo Christians were killed in ethno-religious violence in Nigeria since Kaduna and Kano religious riots broke out in 2000 and 2001.

“Other areas affected were Plateau, Borno, Gombe and Bauchi States, among others.  Between April 2010 and June 2014, at least 8,500 citizens, mostly Christians have been killed in ethno-religious violence.

“While violent Islamic Boko Haram sect accounts for at least 6,000 deaths, the remaining 2,500 is credited to violent Islamic Fulani sect and other individual ethno-religious violent citizens. Of particular note is the fact that Boko Haram is responsible for at least 9,000 deaths mostly targeted at Christians since 2002 when it launched its violent militancy.

“Between 2002 and December 2011, at least 3, 000 people were killed in the Boko Haram terror violence. This includes the July 2009 Boko Haram uprising and counter offensive attacks by the Nigerian security forces, leading to at least 1000 deaths. Between January 2012 and December 2013, at least 2,500 deaths were recorded in the hands of the two deadly Islamic sects. In the first three months of 2013, alone, at least 600 deaths were recorded in the hands of Boko Haram.

“In all, at least 22,000 innocent citizens mostly of rural and urban Christian residential and host populations have been butchered in Nigeria since Kaduna and Kano ethno-religious riots of 2000 and 2001. This figure could be much higher owing to our adoption of conservative calculations.

“The year 2014, which is in its seventh month, is the bloodiest so far in the two violent sects’ Islamic uprising against Nigeria and Nigerians, with killings in six months of at least 4, 118 innocent citizens, who are mostly Christians of Igbo and northern Nigerian minority extractions.

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