As promised, we’ve uploaded a new interview with one of our representatives on the ground in Nigeria who spoke with survivors of the attack to hear their stories.
The sound quality is not the best, but we hope you’ll listen carefully! Just press play below.
A few excerpts from this interview:
“When I visited Byei village, there was no single security presence. So that means these people are exposed to danger. … I saw few security men near Dogo Nahawa…about five of them, and I don’t think those security men are capable enough to prevent any thing at all. And that shows the danger that Christians in that community face.”
“These attacks have actually encouraged and strengthened (the Christians) in their faith. The people have resolved to remain firm and strong in their faith in Jesus Christ. …They are committed to their Christian faith and to continue to serve the Lord.”
“A pastor’s wife, her head was cut off (and) she was buried without a head. In that church (where her husband is the pastor) the Sunday after the incident, people came in that burned church to praise God. To sing praises to the Lord. To affirm their faith in Jesus Christ.”
We just sent an investigative team into the villages in Nigeria where over 500 Christians were slaughtered. We will be posting an interview with our representative who talked to survivors of the attack to hear their accounts of what happened. One interesting bit of information that we learned is that there was one man who was standing around watching the massacre (and possibly directing), and that the military is saying that they did not intervene because they were “overwhelmed” by the vast number of well-armed Muslims.
We also hope to bring you fresh video interviews from some of these eye witnesses as well as the audio of our interview with our representative. Be sure to check back on Monday afternoon!
As the media continues to neglect or spin the massacre of 500 Christian believers in Nigeria, ICC is working to put pressure on the Nigerian government to make real changes to their military forces as well as to their justice system.
In February, ICC brought a Nigerian political leader to Capitol Hill to speak with Congressmen and Senators about the plight of Christians in northern Nigeria. As a result of our efforts there, approximately 40 members of Congress are about to send a joint letter to the Nigerian legislature, holding them accountable to “bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice, provide redress for the victims of the violence, and ensure the safety of the minority religious communities in Nigeria.”
In addition, a prominent senator with a great deal of influence in Africa has also already sent an individual letter (below) to Nigerian leaders asking them for the same. We expect these efforts to send ripples throughout Nigerian society.
Now, with these latest attacks, we are planning a major media effort to call for the resignation of military head Saleh Maina, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3rd Armored Division in Jos, Plateau State.
Nigerian Governor Jonah Jang has said that the massacre could have been prevented if the GOC had only acted when he contacted him by phone to warn him of the impending attack the night before.
Beyond that warning, ICC has learned from Nigerian representatives on the ground that standard military check points should have prevented the free movement of so many armed Muslims. Strangely in this case, such movement did not even arouse suspicion. We have also learned that some of the Muslims involved in the most recent attack were wearing new military uniforms specifically issued to prevent militants from posing as soldiers.
For this effort to work, given the failure of mainstream media, we need you to share these blogs, stories, and interviews with everyone you know! Despite the grievous level of this atrocity, many are still not even aware that it occurred. Utilize the “Spread the Word” link below to share any content we’ve posted here on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social networking site. Thank you!
Why are women and children being targeted? Why were the attackers wearing military uniforms? Was is it really a Muslim village that was attacked in January?
ICC’s President, Jeff King, interviewed CSW Nigeria representatives to find out the real story on the ground in Nigeria. Check out our full audio interview above (just click play!) to hear their answers to some important questions like these:
Why women and children?
“Well, probably because they were the only ones who couldn’t get away quickly enough. They basically attacked early in the morning. They shot in the air to wake people up and then, as the people ran out at the sounds of shots and shouting, they were hacked down.”
“And one of the strategies, also, is so that they can finish a whole generation. By the time you finish the women and the children, then you are done with that generation of people. It’s like the kind of strategy that Pharaoh used against the Israelites.”
Why were the attackers wearing military uniforms?
“The military, for start, somehow managed to miss convoys of Muslims with axes and machetes traveling in the night during curfew hours. So that raised suspicions at the beginning. … Generally in Nigeria, when you drive around, there are check points. Especially in Jos.”
“The things we are now hearing is that some of the attackers were dressed in a new military uniform that was issued specifically so that you could distinguish fake soldiers from real soldiers. And this uniform should really not be available generally. Or so everybody was informed. Yet, according to the survivors of last night’s attack, some of those attackers were wearing that very uniform.”
The media is calling these attacks revenge for a January attack by Christians on the Muslim village Kuru Karama. What’s the real story?
“The Kuru Karama story has still not been proven. I know Al Jazeera and, I think, Human Rights Watch, spread this story because they were informed by random Muslims on the ground that this was an attack on a Muslim village by Christian militias or Christian youths that ended up with Muslims being stuffed into wells and Muslim houses burned.
However, Kuru Karama was never a Muslim village. That’s point number one. When these people went there, they did not look for the village head, which is what you traditionally do when you want to find out what’s happening in a village… The village head is a non-Muslim. There’s no way a Muslim village would have a non-Muslim village head. And he tells us a completely different story.
He actually had to flee from the area… and he also relates that houses that were burnt and shown as Muslim, were actually Christian. And that some of the bodies were Christian. So it was not a massacre of 150 Muslims by Christians.
… The fact that [the January attack] is now being used to stoke up hatred… I think those who, first of all, came up with that story, need to go back to the whole source and correct what they said.”
Muslim Attackers Slice Baby from Belly of Pregnant Woman, Remove Victims’ Tongues
Christian Women and Children Slaughtered in Another Jihad Attack in Nigeria
Washington, D.C. (March 17, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Nigerian Muslims slaughtered at least twelve Christians with machetes this morning in the village of Bei, Nigeria.
The attackers, who were dressed in military attire, removed the baby from the belly of a pregnant woman and cut out the tongues of their victims. The Muslims murdered three children, four teenage girls, three women (including the one pregnant woman) and two men. They also injured six Christians and burned down four houses.
“Our restraint is taken for weakness. The security is not protecting life and property of Christians. This is a religious war. The military is helping the Muslim people. We have evidence about the Military helping the Muslims. We ask the government to withdraw the military and allow the police to take over the security,” said Reverend Chuwang Avou. Reverend Avou is the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Plateau State.
This latest attack came on the heels of another jihad attack just ten days ago in the village of Dogo Nahawa in which 500 people, mainly Christian women and children, were slaughtered by Muslims. Over 13,750 Christians have been killed by Muslims in northern Nigeria since the introduction of Sharia law in 2001.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said “We are deeply saddened by the latest jihad attack against defenseless Christians in Nigeria. Women and children have born the brunt of Muslim aggression. This demonstrates the senselessness of the attacks and the cruelty of the attackers. Unfortunately, the media and politicians wrongly label the attacks as ethnic violence instead of telling the truth about the ruthless Islamic jihad attack that is bent on driving Christians from northern Nigeria.”
Please go to www.house.gov to find contact information for your representatives and tell them to pressure Nigerian officials to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice and protect vulnerable Christians from further violence.
ICC’s President interviewed the Archbishop of Plateau State (where the violence is taking place) the day of the second attack that killed twelve Christians. Both recent attacks are addressed, along with the earlier violence in January, the government involvement, and the media bias that is contributing to the suffering of Christians in northern Nigeria.
Please check out the audio interview above (just click play!). We will post the full transcript online at a later date, but we’ve included some quick excerpts below:
“[In Jos] the gospel is growing with quite a number of international mission Christian organizations [located] in Jos. Campus Crusade’s headquarters is in Jos, Navigator’s headquarters is in Jos…everybody is in Jos.”
“Misreporting by the Western media to damage the good image of the church…What the media is reporting is as if the church was killing Muslims.”
“The attack appeared to be carried out by well trained persons who knew what to do. … The precision doesn’t give room for just an ordinary fight.”
“[The attackers] were able to beat the curfew. They used machetes, a lot, to kill hundreds of people. It was not fast. People were screaming. Women and children were not spared. It is high level of brutality. And they were also able to get away. Some of them were wearing fake military uniforms for their operations.”
“There were text messages going around telling the Muslims to get out the area. The governor told this to the military that this was happening and there is an impending attack coming on. According to the governor, the military commander assured him that he was sending in troops to man the area. And the governor then woke up by 3 o’clock to find out that no troop had been sent and people had been massacred.”
“The CNN and BBC, I think they have bias against the church in Nigeria, I am afraid… in the name of trying to balance, they must look for something to tag on Christians as a crime for which Muslims are retaliating. … that has aided, in no small way, the suffering of the Christians.”
“I have never, I will never advocate for retaliation because its not part of my doctrine. It’s not what I have learned of Jesus. This isn’t what I will ever preach. So for the news media internationally enforcing that false witness on the church is not fair.”
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, interviews a Christian leader living in a nearby city:
Jonathan: Have you notified the security forces about the attack?
Church Leader: We have lost confidence in the security forces in our country, Nigeria. We are moving into a situation which is not good for our country. Many in the military, especially the army, is taking sides.
As soon as I heard about the attack at about 2 AM, I gave the report to the security operatives and the security operatives went to the village. But they refused to enter the village even when the Muslim attackers were shooting at Christians.
When Christians from a nearby village came to intervene to stop the killing, they were blocked by the security forces from entering the village. The security told the Christians who came for rescue that the village is under curfew and they can’t enter the village until 6 AM.
The Muslim attackers finished their operation at 5:30 AM. So by the time the curfew was out at 6 AM, the Muslims slaughtered all the people in the village.
If the security force entered the village as soon as they arrive, many people could have been saved.
The security only started to drive into the village around 5:30 AM. And when the attackers saw that they are coming, they run into the nearby mountains.
Jonathan: Reports indicate that the Muslims mostly attacked women and children. Is that also what you observed?
Church Leader: Most of the victims are women and children. Children as young as 6 weeks are among the victims.
Jonathan: Are the Muslims getting support from outside Nigeria?
Church Leader: I can tell you that the Muslims also get support from outside the country. We suspect that they get some of their weapons from other countries. Recently an airplane was arrested in Kanu [one of Islamic cities in Nigeria]. The airplane was filled with ammunitions. Up to this moment, the officials have not explained to us where that plane came from, who own those war equipments and where they were taking them to.
Even right now, we have reliable information that Muslims are coming to attack us again. They have said that they will force everybody in Plateau State [the state where the attack happened] to become Muslims.
Jonathan: What is the situation of Christians in the area now?
Church Leader: Christians are intimidated and getting frustrated. Every Muslim in our area has guns. We [the Christians] don’t own guns. We are really intimidated. We need assistance from outside Nigeria because we don’t have confidence in this country. We have lost confidence in the security forces in our country. Most of the military officials are Muslims. We want the United Nation to come to our aid.
Jonathan: Some people claim that this is not a religious conflict; rather its a conflict between ethnic groups. Is that a right assessment?
Church Leader: The Muslims started to come to this place a hundred years ago to Islamize the area. They have not been able to do that. So they claim that the conflict is ethnic not religious. But this is not true. Every time they attack Christians, they shout “allahu akbar,” they organize their attacks in mosques, they burn all our churches, and they burn all our Christian schools. So it’s a religious not an ethnic conflict. They also burn Christian homes and properties.
They also look for Islamic support throughout the Islamic world. Unfortunately, Christians don’t know where to go to get support. The Muslims also go to Western countries and claim that the conflict is ethnic and everyone believes them. And because of that Christians in America and Europe see Christians in Nigeria as killers and destroyers. But that is not what our gospel preaches.
Even in this latest attack the Muslims burned down three churches and houses of priests and pastors. Now the pastors are homeless together with their families.
ICC’s Jonathan Racho interviewed eye witnesses of the violence against Christians in Nigeria in which over 500 Christians, mainly women and children, were killed by Muslims.
Interview with Witness 1
Jonathan: Tell me what you witnessed on the night of March 7 when Muslims attacked your village.
Witness 1: At around 3 AM on Sunday night, we heard very heavy gun shots. People were scared, so some children started to run outside the village. Then they were massacred outside the village. I was watching them [the attackers]. They were speaking in Hausa-Fulani [local languages spoken by Muslim majority ethnic groups in Nigeria] and English languages. They camped at a Roman Catholic church, near the place I was hiding. They used the Catholic church to hide some of their weapons. They burned down people’s house and when people run outside of their house, they slaughtered them with machetes. They had guns, but they killed most the people with machetes.
Jonathan: Were the attackers making statements while killing the Christians?
Witness 1: They were shouting “allahu akbar, allahu akbar” [God is great] as they kill Christians.
Jonathan: How many Christian bodies have you seen after the attack?
Witness 1: The Muslims attacked three villages. There are corpses littering all over the villages. There are also Christians who are still missing. I have seen more than 200 dead bodies. There are also wounded Christians who have been taken to hospital.
Interview with Witness 2
Jonathan: Tell me what you saw when the Muslims attacked your village on the night of March 7.
Witness 2: They used a Roman Catholic church as their camp. They used petroleum to burn people’s houses. Some of the attackers had guns and others machetes. They used the machetes for killing people.
I hid myself and watched everything they were doing. They were using Hausa and Fulani languages in order to identify their own people among the villagers. They killed many women and children.
Jonathan: Where the attackers making statements while killing the Christians?
Witness 2: They were shouting “allahu akbar, allahu akbar.” If you hear them shouting “allahu akbar, allahu akbar,” it means they have killed somebody. I have seen with my eyes when they slaughter Christians with machetes. I have seen around 287 bodies. And there are about 150 Christians missing.
Where is the worldwide outrage at such an atrocity?
How could the murder of a 6-week-old child be revenge for anything?
On 7 March 2010, in the middle of the night, Muslims murdered 500 Christian women and children in the village of Dogo Nahawa, near the city of Jos. The Muslims massacred children as young as six weeks old.
Muslim extremists invaded the village at 2 a.m. local time and slaughtered Christians with machetes. In some cases, the Muslims wiped out entire families. Of those murdered, 380 were buried in a mass grave. The police have arrested 93 people and recovered guns, knives and other types of weapons from the suspects.
The security officials knew what was happening but did not intervene.
The Reverend Chuwang Avou, General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Plateau State said Christians from the village called him as soon as the Muslims started their attack. He immediately alerted the security officials.
The security officials went to the village, where they witnessed Muslims were killing Christians, but didn’t intervene to stop the massacre. When other Christians from surrounding villages attempted to intervene, the security forces stopped them by stating they couldn’t enter the village until 6 a.m. The Muslims carried out the massacre until 5:30 a.m. and then left the village.
Reverend Avou, said, “Christians are intimidated. We need assistance from outside Nigeria because we don’t have confidence in this country. We have lost confidence in the security forces in our country . . . . Military people, especially the army, are taking sides. We want the United Nation to come to our aid.”
Jonah John Jang, the Governor of Plateau State, where the attack took place, confirmed the failure of the military to stop the killing. According to the Nigerian newspaper, This Day, on March 6, at 9 p.m., the governor reported the possibility of the attack to Major-General Maina Saleh, the commanding officer of the military in the area. But the military failed to take actions despite the warning by the governor.
According to Governor Jang, the massacre “could have been avoided, if they acted on my report.”
It was a Jihad attack and not an ethnic conflict.
Nigerian Christian leaders expressed outrage that the Muslim attack has been labeled “ethnic” violence by the media and politicians. According to Christian leaders, the violence is part of an Islamic Jihad against Christian minorities in northern Nigeria.
One eyewitness said the Muslims were “shouting Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar (God is great). If you hear them shouting Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, then it means that they have killed somebody.” Church leaders said that the Muslims are bent on forcefully converting everyone in Plateau State to Islam.
Reverend Avou added, “The Muslims have training grounds in Nigeria, and they get their weapons from outside the country.”
During the attack, the Muslims burned down a Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church of West Africa and the Church of Christ in Nigeria.
Check back with us for further updates on this breaking story. We plan to post interviews with Nigerian locals and eye witnesses to give you the real story behind this massacre. Please alert your friends!