‘Nigerian church leaders met with President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this month, but condemned the “evil” massacre of Christians and the falsehoods surrounding it, Christian Post reports.
Rev. Dacholom Datiri, president of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, said that he delivered a report to Buhari on November 6, describing the killing of 646 Christians in Plateau state alone between March and October of this year.
“The devastation in terms of massacre of lives and destruction of property is unimaginable. Pastors and members in their thousands have been killed in cold blood, either shot dead or slaughtered like animals or burned to death. Houses and businesses have been burned or looted and farmlands have been destroyed,” he said, speaking of the years of suffering the church has suffered.
Thousands of other Christians have been massacred in the country since the start of 2018, prompting ongoing outcry from watchdog groups, demanding that the Nigerian government do more to protect citizens.
“The narrative has been that these people are killed by unknown gunmen, or suspected herdsmen, or that there have been farmer-herders clashes,” Datiri said in his report, as shared by Morning Star News.
“All these are deceptive narratives deliberately framed to conceal the truth and continue to perpetrate the evil. After the attacks, it is the Fulani herders that settle and graze their cattle on the farms of the victims,” he continued.
“The proficiency and mode of operation in all of these attacks, as testified by the surviving victims, leaves us in no doubt of the complicity of the military being used as hired mercenaries by the Fulani militias. On this, we are disappointed, and sadly so, that the government has not delivered on her constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property.”
As evidence he pointed to the heavily armed militants with sophisticated guns, including AK-47’s, machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenades, that have been killing Christians. A very similar point was made in August by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman of the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, who told The Christian Post that the government and many news organizations are spreading such a false narrative.
Umeagbalasi told CP at the time that all the evidence, including the great disproportion in the number of Christians killed, and reports of churches being converted for Islamic purposes, show that the thousands of deaths are not simply the result of farmer-Fulani hersdsmen clashes.
“How many Muslim farmers are being killed by Fulani herdsmen? How many Muslim homes have been destroyed or burned? The answer is in the negative. It has nothing to do with herdsmen-farmer clashes. It is false. We don’t like to use the [term] ‘Fulani herdsmen’, we like to use ‘Fulani jihadists,’ who are under the guise of herdsmen,” he added.
In his statement to Buhari, Datiri further pointed out that as many as 38,000 Christians were forced to flee to camps for displaced people, with 30 church buildings and 4,436 Christian homes destroyed in the state, all in the space of half a year. The Church of Christ in Nigeria president accused Nigerian military forces of not only failing to contain the radicals, but of being complicit in some of the attacks.
“Are we to believe that the armed forces sent to keep peace go with the instructions to protect them?” he asked. “The implication is that they protect the aggressors and leave the victims mercilessly helpless.”
On his part, Buhari did not dispute the statistics of violence in Plateau state, but said that the different communities must live together in harmony.
“It is not all Muslims that are against Christians, and neither are all Christians against Muslims,” the president said. “In our security arrangement, the police are in the frontline in making sure that communities irrespective of ethnic or religious bias live together in peace.”
Iran Blocks Nearly All Internet Access
Iran imposed an almost complete nationwide internet blackout on Sunday one of its most draconian attempts to cut off Iranians from each other and the rest of the world as widespread anti-government unrest roiled the streets of Tehran and other cities for a third day, The New York Times reported.
The death toll for the three days of protests rose to at least 12; hundreds were injured; and more than 1,000 people have been arrested, according to semiofficial news agencies like Fars News.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters, called the demonstrators “thugs” and endorsed the government’s decision to raise prices it sets for rationed gasoline by 50 percent as of Friday and by 300 percent for gasoline that exceeds ration limits. Even after the price hike, gasoline in Iran is still cheaper than in most of the rest of the world – now the equivalent of about 50 cents a gallon.
In a speech on Sunday, Khamenei said he would support rationing and increasing gas prices because heads of three branches of government had made the decision.
Khamenei also acknowledged that Iranians had taken to the streets to protest and that some had died – however, he blamed the protests on monarchists and opposition groups trying to destabilize Iran, the Times added.
The widespread discontent on display across the country marked yet another crisis for the country. Iran has been struggling with an economic crisis after the United States exited a nuclear deal and reimposed harsh sanctions that ban Iran’s oil sales.
HASC Chairman Claims Legislation to Create a Space Force in 2020 ‘Still Possible’
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said last week that negotiations on the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act are “proceeding reasonably well” but he expressed doubt that the NDAA will include language to authorize a Space Force as a separate military branch, SpaceNews reported.
“It’s still possible but by no means guaranteed,” Smith told reporters on Capitol Hill last week. When asked for specifics, Smith said, “I don’t think it would be helpful for me to make predictions.”
The biggest sticking point in the NDAA negotiations is language in the House version of the bill that restricts the use of military funds to pay for the wall that President Trump wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border, SpaceNews adds.
There are other dealbreaker issues. The authorization of a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces is one of them, Smith said. Other contentious matters include extending the “war powers” legislation that authorizes the president to use military force, and allowing transgender people to serve in the military.
Smith said the House and Senate NDAA conference in recent weeks worked on compromise language on hundreds of provisions and “reduced the stack significantly, and we’re down to a few really contentious issues.”
Smith characterized the Space Force as a “higher echelon” issue that is proving divisive. Both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate continue to have reservations about the administration’s Space Force proposal, said Smith. “There is bipartisan concern on the proposal and bicameral concern about the specifics of that proposal.”
The House version of the NDAA creates a Space Corps and is closer aligned with what the administration proposed. The Senate bill would rename the Air Force Space Command the U.S. Space Force and does not specifically authorize a sixth branch of the armed forces.
Smith noted that the House has been a proponent of a military space branch since 2017 while the Senate had adamantly opposed it. “In their bill they didn’t have the same language that we did. But the president has persuaded them to look at it differently.”
Gunman Kills Four at California Backyard Party
Police in the California city of Fresno were investigating a mass shooting at a football game party on Sunday in which at least 10 people were shot, killing four, with five others left in critical condition and another wounded, Reuters informs.
Three men died at the scene and another died at a hospital, Fresno Deputy Police Chief Michael Reed said in a late night news conference. Six more were hospitalized, he said.
“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this thing,” Reed said. “This was senseless violence. We’re going to do everything we can to find out who the perpetrators were and bring them to justice.”
A gunman walked into a backyard and started shooting at a south Fresno home, where a gathering of about 35 family and friends was watching a football game before 8 p.m., said Reed. Neighbors soon flooded 911 dispatchers with calls for help, Reuters adds.
The suspect fled the scene and police were combing the neighborhood for witnesses and possible security camera footage, police said. Police did not release further information about the shooting in the city about 200 miles (320 km) north of Los Angeles, except that the dead were men between the ages of 25 and 35.
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