The persecution of Christians worldwide appears set to increase in at least three pivotal countries — Nigeria, India and China — in the coming year 2023, according to a report by the United Kingdom-based aid and advocacy organization Release International.
Providing aid to persecuted Christian families in over 25 countries, the charity released its annual “Persecution Trends” report Wednesday. The document is based on findings from its partners in the world’s worst persecution hotspots.
The report identified Nigeria, India and China as countries of “growing concern” for 2023. Among the three, Release International identified Nigeria as its “country of key concern” for 2023.
According to the report, violence is growing in Nigeria, where thousands have been killed in recent years as the country grapples with Islamic extremist groups in the northeast and radicalized herdsmen in the Middle Belt. Additionally, the group warns of potential demands to divide the nation in the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for February 2023.
“Every indication suggests Nigeria is at a pivotal point in its history. The election in 2023 will determine whether the nation grows as an entity or disintegrates,” one of the organization’s Nigerian partners is quoted as saying in the report.
Pressure is building from Islamists, including terrorist groups, in the north for an independent Islamic state, the report notes, adding, regional ethnic groups in the south are also calling for secession.
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