Douglas Murray reports at The Spectator on the ongoing and largely ignored persecution of Christian villages in Nigeria:
“These tribal-led villages, each with their own ‘paramount ruler,’ were converted by missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries. But now these Christians — from the bishop down — sense that they have become unsympathetic figures, perhaps even an embarrassment, to the West. The international community pretends that this situation is a tit-for-tat problem, rather than a one-sided slaughter. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the press fails to report or actively obscures the situation. Christians in the south of the country feel little solidarity with their co-religionists suffering from this Islamic revivalism and territorial conquest in the north.”
Thousands have been killed, hundreds of thousands forced from their homes.
Murray cites evidence that the persecution is being encouraged by the government, or at least elements within the Nigerian government: “Every village has a similar story. A few days before any attack, a military helicopter is spotted dropping arms and other supplies into the areas inhabited by the Fulani tribes. Then the attack comes.”
One woman was captured by Boko Haram, forced to marry, and held captive for eighteen months before escaping. She told Murray: “At night . . . a military plane would sometimes appear over Boko Haram’s camp and drop off supplies. ‘Look what powerful friends we have,’ her husband would boast as he pointed to the lights in the sky above. Even if the Nigerian army does not support Boko Haram, elements of it certainly do. Whenever an actual operation against the group is planned, they are always tipped off by forces within the country’s security apparatus.
Sometimes the army follows a pattern of murderous passivity: “A villager takes me to the bridge where the village leader and 13 others were recently gunned down in a Fulani ambush. Nigerian army troops watched the whole thing from their base a couple of hundred yards away—just as they did the destruction of another Christian village, the remains of which sit, burned out and silent, right opposite them. The army seems to have no interest in protecting the Christians, while the government in Abuja appears to care more about passing new laws on cattle-rustling than on protecting human lives. When challenged after a massacre, soldiers often claim that they didn’t receive any orders—or had been commanded not to intervene.”