According to accounts by several local news sources and human rights activists, 198 Christians were killed in a series of terror attacks in 26 Christian communities in Plateau. The attacks began the night of Dec. 23 and continued through Christmas Day.

Maria Lozano, a representative for the papal relief group Aid to the Church in Need, told CNA that the Christmas attacks made the weekend “one of the most violent [times] in the area’s history.” She said she believes that a radicalized Islamic tribe known as the Fulani is responsible for the latest violence. 

The attack also marks another instance of terrorists targeting Christian Nigerians on significant Christian feast days such as in the 2022 Pentecost massacre that killed 50 Christian villagers. Lozano said the attacks were carried out because of a combination of reasons including ethnic and religious strife between the Christian farmers and nomadic Fulani herdsmen.  

She pointed out that the timing of the attacks had “religious undertones.”

Lozano also emphasized that a “lack of response from the government” over the years has worsened the situation in the region and that tangible government support has been largely absent after the Christmas massacre. The absence of government support, Lozano said, has forced Christian churches to take on the “primary responsibility of providing assistance.” 

Nigeria’s new president, Bola Tinubu, meanwhile, ordered an “immediate mobilization of relief sources” and directed the country’s security agencies to “scour every part of the zone” and “apprehend the culprits responsible for these atrocities.”

Mutfwang, the Plateau governor, called on the country’s security agencies to also identify those who have been “the sponsors of these attacks” so that the government can act to “unravel all those responsible.”

“Until we cut off the supply in terms of sponsorship, we may never be able to see the end of this,” Mutfwang said.