The top five African countries where Christians are most persecuted


After Asia, Africa is the most dangerous country for Christians to live in. On the Open Doors’ World Watch List of Persecution, there are fourteen African countries among the top fifty places where Christians are the most persecuted. In this article, we detail the five top African countries where Christians live under threat.

  1. Nigeria

Nigeria, a country located in the Western part of Central-Africa, occupies the 12th place on the World Watch List. Even though almost 50% of the population are Christian, they are still fiercely persecuted by Islamic extremists and military groups such as Boko Haram and the Hausa-Fulani Islamic militant herdsmen. Meanwhile, in North- Nigeria,  Christians are treated as second-class citizens and are usually persecuted or despised by their own families.
The two groups, the Fulanis and Boko Haram frequently organise raids on towns where the majority are Christians, kidnapping or slaughtering the inhabitants and burning down or pillaging their houses. This was the case on the 17th of February last year when Boko Haram killed 106 people in one attack.

  1. Eritrea

Eritrea is in 7th place on the World Watch List. It is a small country in North-Eastern Africa, and of the five million inhabitants, half are Christian. Islam is the other big religion in this country. In Eritrea, the primary source of persecution is dictatorial paranoia. President Afwerki organises raids against Christians, imprisoning many of them for contrived reasons. Today, there are hundreds of Christians in prison; many of them have been incarcerated for more than a decade.

  1. Sudan

Sudan is the 6th country on the list. It is located in North-Eastern Africa where Christians are in the minority and represent only 5% of the population. President al-Bashir has governed the country since 1989, and under his administration, Islam is the only accepted religion.  Members of other churches are victimised; Christians are always discriminated against and often suppressed. The government has destroyed numerous churches, and most of the Christian leaders end up in prison. Anyone who speaks openly about their Christian faith can end up behind bars. Christian children in schools are often bullied by their schoolmates and discriminated against by their teachers.

  1. Libya

This North-African country is the 4th on the World Watch List.
The majority of Libyans are Islamic; only 0.5% of the population is Christian.
Since the expulsion of the dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, there has been anarchy in the country. This fact has contributed to the emergence of Islamic terrorist groups, who attack  Christians.
In Libya, many refugees suffer attacks, so Christians are doubly vulnerable. When caught, Christians can be kidnapped; many are tortured and killed.  
The absence of a central governing force exacerbates the situation for Christians, especially those who converted from Islam.

  1. Somalia

Somalia is the 3rd on the list, after North-Korea and Afghanistan, and is located in West-Africa. Here, 99% of the population are Muslims; Sharia law and Islamic law form the bedrock of the constitution. In this country, any religious minority is violently discriminated against.
Al-Shabab is one of the most dangerous Islamic groups that attack minorities in the name of the law. Christians, who converted from Islam are immediately killed when their conversion is discovered. The aim of Al-Shabab is to abolish Christianity entirely from the country.
The security of Christians is so vulnerable that Open Doors did not cite concrete examples of persecution to safeguard local believers.

Beyond these five countries, African Christians are in a difficult situation in Egypt, the Central African Republic, Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia, and Kenya.


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