In Nigeria, 1000’s of Christians are reported to be killed for worry of genocide

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People react when a truck carries the coffins of people killed by the Fulani shepherds in Makurdi, Nigeria on January 11, 2018.REUTERS / Afolabi Sotunde

A new parliamentary report has raised fears of "genocide" in Nigeria, where thousands of Christians have been killed in recent years.

The report by the British all-party faction for international freedom of religion and belief (APPG-FoRB) warns of an escalation of violence in central Nigeria, where Christian farming communities are being attacked by armed Fulani shepherds.

The report warns that "violence has claimed the lives of thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands more".

"It has caused countless human and economic devastations and increased existing ethnic-religious tensions," it says.

Violence is attributed to a number of factors, including competition for resources and the spread of extremist ideologies across the country. However, the report also accuses the Nigerian government of failing to respond appropriately.

The report is dedicated to Leah Sharibu, a Christian student who was kidnapped and imprisoned two years ago for refusing to convert to Islam.

Elsewhere, terrible attacks by Boko Haram militants and a faction, Islamic State of West Africa, associated with ISIS on Christians are highlighted.

"Christians are being ruthlessly targeted, especially because of their beliefs," the report warns.

"Undoubtedly, peaceful Muslims can also become victims of this cruel Islamist religious ideology through collateral violence.

"It is a destructive and divisive ideology that easily mutates into crimes against humanity and can pave the way for genocide. We cannot hesitate to say so."

The report calls on the international community to take measures to stop the violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Jim Shannon, Chairman of the APPG-FoRB, urged the British government to prioritize Christian persecution.

"Among all the injustices that Britain can help correct in the near future, the widespread and growing persecution of Christians should be high on the list," he said ahead of the report.

"These Christians and other persecuted minorities must be our priority after a pandemic that can destroy endangered communities.

"With Britain's first living memory of the challenge of blocking and mass quarantine, I ask you to spare a thought for Christians who are exposed not only to a pandemic but also to the threat of violence and persecution." I can not imagine that.

"I urge the British and Nigerian governments to do everything possible to end this violence and bring their perpetrators to justice."

Mervyn Thomas, CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, welcomed the report and said it had drawn much-needed attention to the "dire situation for vulnerable ethnic-religious communities" in central Nigeria.

"Almost every day we receive reports of the most horrific violence against innocent civilians, and yet the governments of the states concerned and the federal government have a responsibility to protect vulnerable villagers to deal with the armed non-armed actors, who are suffering miserably from these and other threats, and around them Bring perpetrators of this violence to justice, "he said.

"In addition, the international community has unfortunately failed to hold the Nigerian authorities accountable for their negligence in combating violence, decimating communities, claiming thousands of lives, and driving people out of their homes.

"We hope that this report will serve as a wake-up call and alert the UK government and others to the need for swift and concrete action to end this appalling human rights crisis."

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