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News / Thoughts

Nigeria: Students attacked

February 14, 2018

In Nigeria a new wave of attacks has seen dozens of Christians killed across the country. The violence has hit the north-eastern state of Adamawa, and the Middle Belt states of Nasarawa and Benue, where Fulani herdsmen have caused havoc in recent years. Shockingly, the violence has spilled over to a university campus.

In Adamawa state, a Christian student was killed, and others injured, in an attack by Muslim students at the Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTECH) of Yola, the state capital, on 4 February.

A local source, said that the incident started around 7pm, as some students were in their classes, revising ahead of their exams scheduled the following day. Other students were holding their Christian meetings in various places across the campus, when suddenly, a mob of fellow students, armed with sticks and machetes and chanting “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest), stormed the classrooms.

Christian students in one of the lecture theatres were forced to flee after their room was set ablaze. They ran immediately to a Catholic church (on the campus), where other students were having a meeting, to prevent the assailants from attacking and setting it on fire.

Erick McBen Kyari, 25, a second-year Urban and Regional Planning student, was attacked, along with three other students. They were helping to evacuate other injured fellow students when he was hit on the head with machetes and sticks. He later died because of his wounds.

The assailants also destroyed nine out of 11 stores where Christian students keep their musical instruments, setting them ablaze.

What sparked the violence?

The Muslim students said they were angered by a message posted by a Christian student on Facebook on 18 December 2017. They said the message was an insult to their prophet, Mohammed.

In a message posted on Facebook, they warned the management that it had 24 hours to respond or they “will do whatever they feel it’s right for them and nobody will stop”.

The Christian student accused of posting the blasphemous message denied any wrongdoing.

Ajine Delo, President of the Youth Fellowship of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for Adamawa state, said that the accusation of blasphemy was only an excuse to attack Christian students.

“The assailants may have been angered by the elections of the Student Union Government (SGU) leadership, held on 29 January 2018. The results had seen the emergence of Christian students on almost all the positions of the Union.”

The university management condemned the violence and announced the closure of the university.

Where did this happen?

Nigeria is number 14 on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. Hostility towards Christians, especially in the northern Sharia states, is spread by radical Islamic teaching and practice. Converts face rejection from their Muslim families and pressure to recant.

Open Doors partners with the local church to strengthen and equip persecuted believers in northern Nigeria through training, education, providing care and discipleship training for new believers, legal assistance and more.

Pray now…

  • Ask God that peaceful relations between Christians and Muslims on the campus would be revived
  • Pray for tolerance, understanding and forgiveness
  • Ask that those promoting and carrying out acts of violence would face justice
  • Pray that the appointment of Christians on the Student Union would be a marker for change
  • Pray for comfort for the family and friends of Erick McBen Kyari who was killed

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.