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Archbishop tells govt to 'rise up and protect Christians' in Nigeria

by Cara Bentley

The Archbishop of Jos, the capital city of Plateau State in Nigeria, has told Premier that the violence in the middle belt states is not subsiding.

Release International, a charity that supports persecuted Christians, say there have been 6,000 deaths in the first six months of this year alone.

Last month, militants chanting Allahu Akbar killed dozens of Christians in a market place in Kaduna and burnt down a church. The death toll is said to have exceeded 50.

Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, during a trip to the UK, told Premier he didn't know who the Fulani herdsmen were but he did know that: "they're killers, they're merciless, they slaughter mainly, they shoot, they burn down churches, they burn down homes, they destroy farm lands and they occupy wherever they've conquered."

Archbishop Ben said he is in the UK to raise awareness of the fact that the herdsmen are killing in mainly Christian areas, apparently for no reason.

He said: "They've been doing this for nearly two years and not much has been done to stop them. We are calling on the Nigerian government to rise up and protect the poor, to rise up and protect the Christians. These people are well-armed and they can carry out these evils without hindrance.

"It is way after they have done their evils that security agencies come afterwards and, so far, we do not know of any sentences passed on them, or judgements or arrests even."

Regarding the Nigerian President Buhari, the church leader commented: "We had high hopes of him, being a military man and being the man that we know who is not a greedy person...and yet these kinds of evils have befallen us."

He added that there is a lot of apprehension about the upcoming elections, saying they know there will be violence.

Kwashi asked for prayer for those who are alive now, saying they are "down and out" and are impoverished from the destruction of their farms and many have become beggars or orphans.

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