By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– The U.N. human rights chief has warned that all 276 Christian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 may have been among a group of women slaughtered by Boko Haram last month, Nigerian media reported Monday, April 6.
The influential ThisDay newspaper cited Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein as saying that “The recent recovery of territories in northeastern Nigeria has brought to light macabre scenes of mass graves and more obvious signs of killings by Boko Haram.”
He cited various reports obtained by his office in Geneva which “include the murder of the wives of combatants, women and girls actually held in slavery.”
The allegations come as a setback for president-elect Muhammadu Buhari. He swore to rescue the schoolgirls, who were seized from a boarding school in the northeast town of Chibok in April 2014, if elected president.
Buhari last week defeated President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, in part because of ongoing attacks by Boko Haram, which seeks to create an Islamic state and ordered Christians to leave northern areas.
Attacks against Christians by Islamists also continue elsewhere in the country as new details have emerged that Fulani Muslim herdsmen raided the mainly Christian village of Agatu, in Nigeria’s central Benue state killing as many as 82 people.
Advocacy group Barnabas Fund, which has investigated the March 15 incident, quoted a local resident as saying that “… the entire village is like a killing field with the stench of blood everywhere and many are still missing.”
The attackers were thought to be from Loko in neighbouring Nasarawa state. After attacking residents and breaking into their homes, the Fulani herdsmen reportedly razed the village to the ground, destroying homes, trees, food barns and farmland.
“Residents in the village are of the predominantly Christian Egba ethnic group. Ethnic Fulani Muslims frequently attack Christian villages across Nigeria, killing residents and burning churches,” Barnabas Fund told BosNewsLife.
It suggested that the attacks resemble the violence against Christians in north-eastern Nigeria carried out by Boko Haram. Those attacks, it said, focuse “in particular on Christians, Western-style educational institutions and security and political targets.”
Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, announced last month the group’s allegiance to the
caliph of Islamic State (IS), following examples of other jihadist groups in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Barnabas Fund said it had urged Christians to “Pray that the Lord will send the Holy Spirit to those who continue to mourn the loss of their love ones” and to “pray that they will experience the comfort that comes through Christ Jesus, the risen Lord who suffered on their behalf.”
It cited Bible verse 2 Corinthians 1:5: “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”