By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Church leaders in Nigeria have urged their government to protect citizens in the country’s troubled central and northern regions after scores of Christians, including pastors, were among those killed by Islamic militants in the latest reported crackdown on Christianity.
The appeal came after suspected Muslim Fulani assailants killed as many as 32 villagers in three predominantly Christian communities, in Sanga Local Government Area in Kaduna State.
Two pastors were among thise killed just after midnight on September 17 in Karshin Daji town, Christians said, while 15 others were reportedly injured and 15 houses burned down.
Pastor Ezra Ibrahim of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) was killed and Reverend Julius Jako of the ECWA was slain alongside his wife and daughter, said 60-year-old Danjuma Awe, an elder of the ECWA congregation in Karshin Daji in published remarks.
Local Christians said Muslim Fulani assailants want to rid the area of Christianity and use the land to graze their cattle. Some 300 Christians are now known to have died in Islamic attacks in the area since June, a local Christian group said.
Elsewhere on September 18, at least 15 people were reportedly killed when suspected militants attacked the Federal College of Education of Kano, the main commercial city of northern Nigeria.
Witnesses said the attackers stormed the college while exchanging fire with police officers posted outside the grounds.
There was at least one suicide bomber among the group whose explosives went off when police shot him. Some of the attackers entered a lecture hall and opened fire on the students.
Many fighters are involved in or inspired by Boko Haram, or ‘Western education is sinfull’, which is fighting for an independent Islamic state.
Back in the epicentre of Boko Haram activity in the far north-east on September. 19, at least 36 people were killed in an attack on the town of Mainok – about 60 kilometers (37 miles) west of Borno State capital, Maiduguri.
The assailants reportedly stormed the market at midday, shooting at traders, while others were killed by stray bullets or by vehicles as they tried to flee across the highway.
Recent weeks have been marked by an intensification of Boko Haram attacks in north-eastern Nigeria, Christians say.
The Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, which comprises the three states where the government has declared a ‘state of emergency’ Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, said about 25 towns and villages are now under Islamist control
Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have criticized the government of Christian President Goodluck Jonathan of not doing enough to protect non Muslims.
“As Nigeria tragically bleeds and burns, we Bishops are really alarmed at the scale of human and material destruction, and the disruption of village and community life…” wrote the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Ignatius Ayau Kaigama.
He said there were “increased levels of hatred and potentials for more conflicts in the nation.”
While Muslims, “are sometimes targets of these destructive attacks” he noted that Christians, Churches and non- Muslims in general are the principal targets for extermination, expropriation and expulsion by the Boko Haram insurgents, the perpetrators of all these destructions.”
He and other bishops urged the authorities to carry out their “primary duty” to protect the life of every Nigerian regardless of their religious or ethnic background.
President Jonathan has pledged to step up security, but Christians have complained of a lack of protection in key areas of the troubled nation.