The first four months of 2021 have seen a record number of Nigerian Christians being killed or kidnapped by Islamists.

According to a new report published this week by Intersociety, a Nigerian civil rights group, at least 1,470 Nigerian Christians have been killed because of their faith so far this year, with up to 2,200 more being kidnapped.

“Nigeria has devastatingly remained the ‘most Christians killed country’ and ‘most dangerous place to be a Christian’ as well as Africa’s newest hotbed of Islamic Jihad and religious intolerance,” the report reads.

“The 1,470 Christian deaths in four months is the highest number recorded since 2014 and it specifically surpassed the total number of Christians killed in 2019, estimated by the Open Doors to be 1,350.”

Nigeria has been combatting Islamists for over a decade now. The local terrorist group Boko Haram has been bolstered by ISIS agents fleeing the Middle East in recent years, increasing the rate of violence.

Intersociety attributes 800 of the killings to gangs from the militias recently formed by Nigeria’s Fulani ethnicity. Fulani gangs and militias have been inspired by other larger Islamist groups active in the country such as ISIS.

Nigeria has also seen a kidnapping epidemic caused by Islamist groups seeking to earn ransom payments. Islamists have kidnapped people out of churches and buses in recent months.

Of the 2,200 kidnaps, 800 of them were in the Muslim-majority state of Kaduma alone.

Intersociety estimates that around 220 kidnapped Christians have been killed in captivity. This statistic includes several clergy.

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