“Same is applicable to victims of house to house looting during which Christians are separated from others at gunpoint and taken away or killed on the spot,” the report adds.
Referencing the ethnic nature of the attacks, the report notes, “Christians particularly those of Igbo extraction are waylaid on highways and abducted into the bush and forced to pay ransom or face death including beheading or forceful conversion to Islam.”
The report exemplifying the ethnic-driven attacks indicates, “On 14th Jan 2020, no fewer than 58 Igbo Christian travelers through the Ezenwata Transport’s Luxury Bus were ambushed and forced to stop after which they were abducted.”
During the highway ambushes women “are routinely subjected to sexual violence including rape and other forms of sexual assault.”
According to the report, Boko Haram, Jihadist Herdsmen and “Highway Bandits” have been abducting travelers on major Nigerian highways with the abductees being held and tortured in captivity until they pay ransoms running into millions of naira each, with those unable to pay risking death or rape for young women.
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“As per the report, “many, if not most of the victims” of Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria’s Northeast region are Christians while most victims of ‘Bandits/Highway Kidnappers’ in Northern Nigeria “are Christians traveling to Northern or Southern parts of the country using the highway.”
In total, the report has revealed that since 2015, “not less than 10,475 Christians were hacked to death” by non-state actor Jihadists-Boko Haram, Fulani Militia and highway bandits.
In the 57 months, Fulani Jihadists labelled as the “fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world” by the 2014 Global Terrorism Index, accounted for about 62 percent of the 7,400 deaths.
At the state actor level, the country’s security forces “have been responsible for 1,050 Christian deaths” outside the law and “were perpetrated in gross violation of the international human rights and humanitarian laws,” the report indicates.
During the same period, the number of internal refugees has risen to over 3 million with majority being Christians in the northern part of the country, while an estimated 2,000 Churches have been destroyed.
The report attributes the impunity of the jihadists partly due to the government's protection, a conviction held by Catholic Bishops in the country.
“The Government of Nigeria and its security agencies have also come out boldly to defend the terrorist activities of Fulani Jihadists. The Government also functions as their mouthpiece,” the report claims.
‘Figure spinning’ and ‘mangling,’ the report says, “have also become part of the Federal Government’s conspiracy and complicity – whereby Government denies out-right the casualty figures associated with Jihadist Herdsmen killings or have same brutally mangled. Censorship, false denials and falsehoods also characterize the Government’s response to Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen’s butcheries.”
Intersociety, led by Christian criminologist Emeka Umeagbalasi, has been monitoring and documenting the killings of Christians in Africa’s largest country since 2010, through the help of criminologists, lawyers, journalists, security, peace and conflict studies’ graduates.
In doing so, the 12-year-old organization, which opposes inter-faith violence or killing in the name of radical Islamism, has been relying on credible local and foreign media reports, eyewitnesses’ accounts and reports from Christian bodies and church media, reports from local and international rights and research organizations, as well as available credible government accounts.