Nigeria (MNN) ― Christian students were specifically targeted by Islamists in what some say was a retaliatory attack in northeast Nigeria. The massacre killed up to 30 students at Federal Polytechnic Collage in the city of Mubi in remote Adamawa State.
Emily Fuentes with Open Doors USA describes the attack. "Certain students were called out and attacked. But Open Doors sources in the area have notified us that the people who were attacking were allegedly members of Boko Haram and were allegedly separating Christians from Muslims students; [they] attacked the Christians students there."
This is a new for Boko Haram. "Up until now," says Fuentes, "Christians were either attacked in their churches, their homes, and maybe their places of business. So this is different to have Christians attacked at university, at the school that they're going to."
Was it retaliation? Some are claiming that, says Fuentes. "Police actually went through these halls and arrested 156 members who they believe were members of Boko Haram who were actually in the school."
Fuentes says more than 700 Christians have been attacked in 2012, and believers are on edge. "It's a different kind of attack than the ones that they're used to. And it's a whole different form when [terrorists] are attacking the young at the university."
Christians are taking action. "There's been a big movement with this minister, as well as other pastors and church leaders, to encourage churches and Christians to be wise about their security to prevent more attacks like these from happening."
Open Doors is encouraging people to be aware of this situation and pray earnestly for Christians there.
The U.S. State Department's 2011 International Religious Freedom Report released a few weeks ago confirms that there have been increasing attacks against Christians. However, the government didn't effectively quell rising hostility or investigate and prosecute those responsible.
Nigeria is ranked #13 on the Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 countries which are the worst persecutors of Christians.