Data shows Nigeria’s Christian community suffering from general uptick in attacks

09/04/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) recently released an explainer on the issue of religion-based violence in Nigeria. Analyzing data collected by its researchers from 2020 to 2022, ACLED found that violence against Christians overtly based on their religious identity increased by 21% from 2020 to 2021 and another 25% from 2021 to 2022. This represents a slightly faster growth rate compared to overall violence, which only increased by 19% between 2020 and 2021.

ACLED points out that there are a number of flashpoints in addition to religion – ethnic identity, gender, occupation and government affiliation, among others – and that religion is only one. factor among many others. In fact, ACLED claims that only about 5% of violent events targeting civilians target Christians because of their religious identity.

The ICC has analyzed ACLED data on Nigeria dating back to 1997, and its initial findings show that Christians are, indeed, targeted in a relatively small percentage of kidnappings. However, in kidnappings where ACLED data clearly reveals the victim’s religious affiliation, whether Christian or Muslim, the ICC has found that Christians are targeted nearly ten times more often than their Muslim counterparts.

While ACLED limits its analysis to cases of obvious targeting – an attack on a church building, for example – the ICC can dive much deeper given its extensive network of staff and experts at across Nigeria. Although perhaps less obvious to a US research organization, an attack by Muslim extremists on a known Christian village can be as much an attack on religion as an attack on the church building itself and, in some cases, even more damaging.

The ICC will explore this topic further in an upcoming report on Nigerian abductions.

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