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Violence against Christians in sub-Saharan Africa has reached new heights
The 2024 World Watch List particularly highlights the plight of Christians in sub-Saharan Africa, with violence against them reaching alarming new levels as violent Islamic militants destabilise the region. It is most extreme in Nigeria, where militants from Fulani, Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and others conduct raids on Christian communities, killing, maiming, raping and kidnapping for ransom or sexual slavery.

Influence of radical Islamic elements and autocratic regimes
Radical Islamic elements exploiting unstable political conditions is a common thread across the African continent. The fractures in governance and security have opened the door for the jihadist activities seen, for example, in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria and Somalia.

The Wagner Group invading Mali
When French troops moved out of Mali in 2022, the Wagner Group moved onto their bases. Their influence has significantly stifled the civic space for Christians. Speaking out against governmental injustices or the brutalities perpetrated by the Wagner Group has become dangerous.

Rise of violence against Christians in India
There was a substantial rise in the number of Christians killed in India and the number of churches, Christian schools and homes attacked during the WWL 2024 reporting period. The violence left 160 Christians dead and more than 62 000 Indian Christians were forced to leave their homes.

Increase in church closures and attacks in China, India and several other countries
China and India were the worst offenders regarding church closures and attacks. Figures show that an estimated 10 000 churches in China were closed and 2 228 in India attacked. These two countries make up nearly 83% of all the closure/attack incidents on churches in all countries on the 2024 list. Church attacks in Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda and Sudan were also particularly high.

Rapid rise of persecution in Nicaragua
Communist dictatorships in Latin America are increasingly hostile to the Church. Nicaragua is no exception, jumping 20 places higher on the list to no. 30. Daniel Ortega’s government has become more overt in how it represses religious freedom.

The most important trends of the 2024 WWL are: 

  • A total of 4 998 Christians were killed worldwide in faith-related attacks. Figures likely run much higher, but many go unreported.
  • Seven-fold increase in attacks on churches, Christian schools and hospitals from 2 110 in 2023 to 14 766 in 2024.
  • Christians beaten or threatened increased from 29 411 reported cases in 2023 to 42 849 in 2024.
  • Attacks on homes rose 371% from the 2023 figures (4 547 to 21 431).
  • Christians forced out of their homes or into hiding more than doubled from 124 310 to 278 716.
  • A total of 365 million Christians (one in seven worldwide) face high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith – up from last year’s figure of 360 million.
  • Five out of the top 10 countries on the 2024 WWL are in Africa.

World Watch List Prayer Updates

The World Watch List Prayer Updates focuses on the different countries on the Open Doors World Watch List. The weekly email provides a short overview of a country and a pdf with relevant prayer points. Use it to help you pray or use it in a PowerPoint in church services, announcements or presentations. If you would like to receive these weekly emails, please complete the form below.

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Related pages

World Watch List 2024 World Watch List Methodology
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