By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Muslim extremists destroyed several churches and a pastor’s house in the latest religious violence to hit Nigeria’s northern Kano state, church representatives and rights activists said Friday, May 21.
One of the buildings and the pastor’s house were set ablaze on the premises of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) at Kwasam, in the Kiru Local Government area, while another building under construction was demolished, the church said.
Local Christians estimated that over 100 young people were involved in this week’s attacks in the predominantly Muslim area.
Reverend Lado Abdul, who chairs the ECWA in Kano, linked the violence to youth who had abandoned the church after they “were converted to Islam.” He said local Muslims objected to the presence of his church in the region.
Right group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which has closely monitored the case, said the ECWA Church leadership had earlier been forced to appear before a Shari’a court.
“Since its members are from tribes indigenous to the area, the church argued that the land on which the church stood was their inheritance, adding that they had nowhere else to go. Nevertheless, the court ruled in favor of the complainants.”
Earlier the Baptist Church in the area of Banaka, Takai LGA, was also destroyed on May 15, CSW said, adding that “The church has now faced demolition on four separate occasions.”
“After the previous demolition, a group of Christians from Kastina State paid for the construction of a new building, and also drilled a well for church members to use. However, during the demolition, the well was blocked off completely,” CSW said in a statement.
CSW National Director Stuart Windsor National Director said the demolitions “violate Nigeria’s constitutional and international legal undertakings to uphold religious freedom and freedom of assembly.”
While nobody was injured in these incidents, the attacks have underscored mounting tensions between Christians and Muslims in the country, where thousands have died in recent years in sectarian clashes.