Church Set Ablaze in Zamfara

Monday, August 5, 2002

Lekan Otufodunrin
Nigeria Online Christian News.

A Church building belonging to the Mountain of Fire Ministries in Gusau, capital of Zamfara State, northern Nigeria was set ablaze by suspected Islamic fanatics.

The incident, described by the State branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), as an act of religious intolerance, occurred on Thursday night, November 22. The Church property was completely destroyed.

Head of the Church, Pastor Uhia said in an interview that he got to the premises of the worship centre on Friday and found the building and seats worth thousands of dollars completely razed.

Uhia accused some of their Muslim neighbors, who have always complained against the Church mode of worship as possible suspects of the attack, which he said was pre meditated.

"This group of people that live around our Church environment, sometime last year, wrote to the Emir, complaining that they did not want our existence there, and that they didn't like the way we worship.

"They wrote that we should move out of that place. So, when we started having some threat, stoning, destruction of our property and all those things, as peace loving people, we decided to apply for the relocation of the Church," the Church pastor explained.

Chairman of the minority Christian community in the state, Rev Linus Awuhe, said his association would explore every legal means to seek redress over the incident.

Christians in Zamfara State have always complained of persecution. Unknown Islamic fanatics demolished a Catholic Church earlier in the year.

Zamfara state with almost 98 percent Muslim population spearheaded the adoption of the Islamic law in the northern part of the country.

Nigeria, Africa most populous nation is almost evenly divided between Christians and Muslims. The North is predominantly Muslim, while the South has a Christian majority population.