Several Christians were injured and homes destroyed by a mob of Muslims in Katanga village, Bauchi State, Nigeria, after a Christian woman was accused of committing blasphemy in a WhatsApp message.
The woman, Rhoda Jatau, was said to have shared a video in which a Ghanaian convert from Islam protested the killing of Deborah Samuel and allegedly made disparaging remarks about Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.
A group of Muslim young people searched for Jatau after Friday prayers on 20 May, but she had already been moved to a safe location.
The Muslims then launched an attack against the Christian community, injuring several Christians including the pastor of a local church.
They tried to burn down the church building, but being unable to get access to the church they instead set fire to adjacent buildings.
More than 40 bags of fertiliser and 80 bags of corn were destroyed in the fire. The mob also looted Christian shops and businesses, as well as setting more fires.
Bala Mohammed, the governor of Bauchi State, has ordered security forces onto the streets in an attempt to preserve order. “My administration has a special regard for peace and religious tolerance and I will not fold my arms to allow unpatriotic people cause trouble in any part of the state,” he said.
A Bauchi-based pastor said that it was becoming easy for anyone who has a grudge against another person to frame them for blasphemy.
The incident comes just over a week after a Christian student, Deborah Samuel, was stoned and clubbed to death in Sokoto State after allegedly insulting Muhammad.
From Barnabas Fund contacts and other sources