A Muslim mob set fire to a church in a Christian village in Nigeria’s northern Kano State on April 1. Muslims were searching for a young man who had renounced Islam and re-converted to Christianity; they were looking to kill him. They also attacked Christian villagers with machetes and torched the home of a pastor, killing one of his daughters.
The young man, Yahaya Joshua, had converted to Islam but later chose to return to Christianity — making him an apostate from Islam worthy of the death penalty. Knowing that his life was forfeit, he fled to the Christian village in search of safety.
According to General Dikko, a local official, “The church and all the properties were burnt down in the presence of the Christian community despite all pleadings for them to stop the destruction. The arsonists gathered cornstalks and put them inside the church in order to cause greater damage.”
The general further said that the Christian community refused to resort to violence in their attempts to prevent the mob from setting the church on fire. This further inflamed the mob, causing them to set fire to the pastor’s house as well. “As a result of the fire,” said Dikko, “one of the pastor’s daughters died of suffocation and most of the house destroyed.”
Appealing to government authorities for protection, General Dikko concluded by saying: “We have the right to belong to any religion of our choice and live anywhere in this country. We call on the authorities at all levels to rise up to their responsibilities of protecting lives and properties of every citizen in this country.”