Mob Attack Spurred by Supposedly Blasphemous WhatsApp Message
Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – Deborah Emmanuel, a 25-year-old Christian student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Nigeria’s Sokoto State, was fatally beaten and her body was burned earlier today, May 12. Her classmates were incensed at a supposedly blasphemous message she had sent to a school WhatsApp group.
Deborah, who attends an ECWA church and resides with her parents in Sokoto according to International Christian Concern’s (ICC) contacts, apparently got into an argument with her female classmates after sending a WhatsApp message her classmates interpreted as blasphemous.
A video of Deborah being beaten went viral on local social media channels and has been reviewed by ICC staffers on the ground and analysts overseas. The video shows her lying still on the ground with her bloody left arm attempting to cover her head as male and female students gathered around, beating her with sticks, throwing large stones, and shouting, “Allahu Akbar.” She pleaded with her classmates not to kill her.
A student from the school who spoke with ICC said, “Muslim students and teachers don’t like Christians in the school.” The student told ICC that school authorities watched as the frenzied mob killed Deborah, but could not stop the Muslim students, though they tried.
The road to the school and Deborah’s house is currently blocked by students, making it difficult for Christians to move around. The governor of the state asked for the closure of the school without asking for the arrest of the students who committed the crime.
Despite the intense persecution that Christians in Nigeria face, Nigeria was removed from the U.S. State Department’s Countries of Particular Concern list in November 2021.
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