“Christians in northwest Nigeria are living in terror after receiving letters threatening death unless they close their churches,” reports Christiannews.net.
A police spokesman said Zamfara State Police have beefed up security at churches and increased intelligence-gathering in response to the letters that warn Christians will be killed or kidnapped if places of worship are not shut down.
“There’s fear and panic here since the letter was received,” Mary Ibrahim, a resident of Gussau, the Zamfara state capital, told Morning Star News by text message. “Christians no longer find it easy to attend fellowship and Bible Study programs in churches.”
Police said they are trying to determine who sent the letters, while area residents suspect Islamic extremists among Fulani herdsmen or members of Boko Haram.
“A letter was sent to our churches warning that the Christians must close down churches, or we’ll be attacked,” Ayuba Matthew, also of Gussau, told Morning Star News. “We are worried that these Fulani terrorists will carry out their threats, as they’re now in complete control of the rural areas of Zamfara state.”
Many Christians in Zamfara, Nigeria are staying away from church meetings, while others are moving out of the state, residents said…
In this year’s World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.
Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report…
Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as decertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.