Calls for an end to 'continuous massacre of Christians' in Nigeria

The bodies of Christians massacred by Fulani Muslim herdsmen in Nigeria.

Nearly as many Christians have been murdered by Islamists in Nigeria this year as throughout the whole of 2015, latest figures show.

The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans has strongly condemned the "atrocious" killings and called for the perpetrators to be called to account.

Dr Ade Oyesile, head of the association, said: "We are saddened by the rapid occurrences of these atrocious killings without a corresponding accountability being meted to the growing list of perpetrators."

He called on Nigeria's government to go "beyond mere expression of shock at the vicious killings" and set in motion practical steps to stem "this ugly spectacle of continuous massacre of Christians".

He released figures that show that at least 384 Christians have been killed and 111 injured across Nigeria so far this year, which compares to a total of 431 deaths and 301 injured Christians throughout 2015.

Oyesile said: "These killings, we noticed, are carried out either by tit-for-tat attacks, arson on properties especially churches or the targeted systemic killings of Christians perpetuated by the Boko Haram terrorist religious sectarian group."

Boko Haram Islamists have carried out a wave of deadly attacks on Christian and civic buildings across northern Nigeria in recent years(Photo: World Watch Monitor)

Examples this year include:

*16 Christians were killed and 32 injured when a suicide bomber hit a vegetable market in Chibok, a Christian town in Maiduguri.

 *10 Christians were killed and 28 injured when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb at a busy market near a church in Adamawa. All the victims were Christians.

*A brother and sister were hacked down in a Christian- dominated community and 19 people injured in Uzo-Uwani, Enugu State in an attack by Fulani herdsmen.

*Merciless killings of at least 300 Christians by radical Islamic mercenaries including pregnant women in Agatu, Benue State.

•48 Christians killed and 60 injured by Fulani herdsmen in Enugu.

*A man and his daughter burnt alive in a church by Boko Haram in Dadawa, an outskirt of Sabongari in Kano State.

*Three Christians burnt to death in a pastors' home as they slept at Ninte village in Jema in Kaduna State.

In addition, most recently, in Kano on June 2, a Christian woman was beheaded by Islamic fundamentalist after a minor argument. On June 30 at Obi town in Nasarawa State, a pastor was killed by a militant Islamist. On July 9 a female pastor was hacked to death by Islamist radicals.

Oyesile said: "This dastardly killings of Christians in the country must stop. It is most disappointing that these unprovoked killings of Christians have continued despite the federal government condemnation statements.

"There is palpable anger in the land and it is anger without answers from the federal government [which] has a direct responsibility to secure the lives of all citizens. This is more so as we Christians do not preach [a] gospel of retaliation, we preach peace and peace we are seeking now."

He continued: "The federal government needs to step up and take bold actions to give members of the Christian community in the country a sense of security and belonging."

The sectarian killings, he said, had turned countries into "failed states".