Christians in northern Nigeria have experienced a sharp increase in violence during 2019, mostly recently the kidnapping of church members during a choir practice.
Open Doors USA has been documenting the violence in the African country, where two groups are targeting Christian believers.
“You have Boko Haram, which is an ISIS/al Qaeda-type organization,” says Open Doors leader David Curry. “And then you've got the Fulani, which is a tribal organization but is still never the less targeting Christians, trying to force them from their homes, persecuting them because of their faith."
The double threats against Christians, he says, have created a “powder keg for persecution” against them.
The kidnapping on May 18 affected 17 church members, who are being held for ransom, and in late April, Boko Haram fighters went door to door in the village of Kudu where the Islamic radicals shot and killed villagers.
Curry says the Nigerian government has promised to protect Christians but nothing is getting done. The U.S. could play a role, he says, by putting pressure on the Nigerian government to protect Christian communities.
Open Doors asks Christians worldwide to pray for their brothers and sisters in Nigeria, and the ministry is asking for financial help to get basic supplies, financial assistance, and counseling care to northern Nigerian Christians.