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Elderly Nigerian imam given award for saving 262 Christians from Muslim extremists


30 July 2019

An elderly Muslim leader who saved the lives of hundreds of Christians fleeing a murderous attack by Muslim Fulani militants in Nigeria, received an award recognising his courage on 17 July.

Imam, Abubakar Abdullahi, was given the US International Religious Freedom Award for selflessly risking his own life on 23 June 2018 to “save members of another religious community” when the militants attacked at least ten villages in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area in Plateau State, killing scores of Christians and burning homes in a two-day rampage.

Abubakar Abdullahi risked his own life to save fleeing Christian neighbours, remembering how Christians had allowed Muslims to build the mosque in Nghar 40 years earlier
Abubakar Abdullahi risked his own life to save fleeing Christian neighbours, remembering how Christians had allowed Muslims to build the mosque in Nghar 40 years earlier​

The 83-year-old imam sheltered 262 fleeing Christians, hiding women and children in his home and the men in the mosque in Nghar village. Abdullahi then confronted the gunmen and refused them access, insisting everyone inside was Muslim.

He said later that he wanted to help because, 40 years previously, Christians in the area had allowed Muslims to build the mosque. He said it was the first time he had experienced such “an ugly incident” in all the years that Muslims had lived in a neighbouring village to the Christian farmers.