Nigeria: 200 Muslims storm and destroy Catholic church

The Christian Association of Nigeria has condemned the Muhammadu Buhari administration over increasing violence against non-MuslimsAfolabi Sotunde

A group of several hundred Muslim youths have stormed and destroyed a Catholic church in Nigeria, days after a female pastor was hacked to death and a week after the similarly brutal killing of another, male evangelical pastor.

The latest attack came on St Philip's Catholic Parish, Baki Iku, close to Zuma Rock in Niger State, where worshippers were told on Friday that the day was for Muslims to pray and not Christians, who could only do so on Sundays.

The Vicar-General of the church, Revered-Father Gobep Luka Sylvester, confirmed the attack to Nigerian newspaper This Day and said that numerous pieces of church property had been destroyed.

Sylvester told This Day: "Sometime around 2pm, some Muslim youths in numbering 200 left their Mosque after their Friday Jumat prayer and rushed to the Church premises, climbed the wall and destroyed everything in the Church: the windows, the alter, musical instruments, the chapel. The security man in the church premises was beaten to pulp. Some women who were holding a prayer meeting were chased away. The seminarian who is resident in the premises was also beaten up and chased away."

Sylvester said that the incident had been reported to the police, who claim to have made some arrests and said they will investigate further.

In 2012 Alhaji Kabiru Sokoto, a suspected member of terrorist group Boko Haram, detonated a bomb on Christmas day that killed several Catholics and passers-by at St Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, close to St Philips that was destroyed on Friday.

Sylvester added: "Just last week, Mrs Eunice Olawale, a mobile preacher of the Redeemed Christian Church of God was killed by some fanatical Muslims in Kubwa, FCT. How long are we going to continue like this?"

Last week, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemned the Muhammadu Buhari administration over increasing violence against non-Muslims and warned Christians to defend themselves following the killing of Olawale last weekend.

Olawale, a pastor for the Redeemed Christian Church of God, was hacked to death in the Gbazango area of Kubwa, Abuja, by suspected Muslim fanatics, while preaching on the morning on 9 July.

Prior to that, a male pastor was also hacked to death by armed Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria's central state of Nasarawa, according to World Watch Monitor (WWM).

Rev Joseph Kurah, of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Obi town, was reportedly killed on 30 June after going to his farm at around 7pm to cut down trees for roofing wood.