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Children opening a Christmas Blessing package
A previous "Christmas Blessing" project brought much joy to persecuted Christians and their families in Nigeria.

After a period of relative calm, violence has resumed in Plateau state -- resulting in the deadliest sectarian violence in Nigeria's recent history. The fatalities were perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen who have been primarily targeting Christian farmers in the country's Middle Belt. In fact, many experts now report that the attacks of this militant Muslim group have killed more people than those committed previously by the notorious Boko Haram terrorists.

According to a non-governmental organization on the ground, Stefanos Foundation, repeated attacks against Christian communities took place this September and October, leaving more than 75 slain. Throughout the course of the violence, 12 villages have been attacked. In addition to the casualties, 489 homes have been burned and 13,726 people displaced.

The violence continued to claim more lives in November. During the early hours of November 13th, two men, Christopher Dung and Bulus Dantoro, were ambushed and killed in Wereng village of Riyom Local Government Area. A week earlier, nine others were shot dead and four more injured as they returned from a weekly village market in the same government area. The injured victims identified the perpetrators as Fulani militants. Then, on November 30th, at least four more people were fatally injured after Fulani herdsmen, who were armed with guns, opened fire at a mining site in Jol village, also of Riyom Local Government Area.

On December 8th, at a delegation of Christian leaders from the Church of Christ in Nations, it was revealed that some of those responsible for the attacks have been arrested, although they have not been publicly identified as Fulani herdsmen. Further investigations are being made. To learn more about persecution in Nigeria, visit the Country Report.

Please prayerfully uphold the many injured and displaced victims of the recent targeted attacks -- those who have suffered immensely at the hands of the perpetrators. In the midst of their pain and heartache, may God demonstrate His loving kindness by ministering greatly needed healing, provision, comfort and strength. Pray that His wisdom and direction will be granted to those in positions of governmental authority so they can ensure justice, stability and peace for the inhabitants of this troubled area. Intercede also for the perpetrators of the violence in hopes that the hatred within each of their hearts will be replaced with a new spirit -- one that is tender and responsive to His transformative love (Ezekiel 36:26).