US honours Imam Abubakar for saving Christians during Plateau massacre

Imam Abubakar saved over 200 Christians by hiding them in his mosque and home when over 100 were killed by herdsmen in Plateau last year.

Imam Abdullahi Abubakar [The Nation]

Herdsmen were reported to have killed at least 100 people in several communities in Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State between June 23 and June 24, 2018.

When some of the fleeing locals ran to Nghar village in Gashish District, Imam Abubakar hid hundreds of people in his house and mosque to shield them from the attackers.

Many of those the Imam provided shelter for were indigenous Berom people, mostly Christians, who were believed to be the primary targets of the devastating attacks.

When the attackers came around to ask the Imam to surrender Christians under his protection, he lied that they were all Muslims and begged them to go. His relentless persuasion eventually resulted in the attackers leaving the area without hurting anyone else.

During the award ceremony, the first of its kind by the US Department of State, on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, Abubakar was praised for putting his life at risk to give refuge to his Christian neighbours.

"His actions bear witness to true courage, true selflessness and true brotherly love," the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, said.

Abdullahi, 83, was not present at the ceremony to share the stage with fellow recipients: Ivanir dos Santos (Brazil), Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud (Cyprus), Mohamed Yosaif Abdalrahan (Sudan), Pascal Warda and William Warda (Iraq).

While speaking, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, praised the recipients of the award for their contributions to humanity.

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