(Morning Star News) – Nine Christians were buried in north-central Nigeria yesterday after Muslim Fulani herdsmen ambushed and killed them earlier this week, sources said.
The victims, all members of the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN), were buried after a funeral service in Plateau state’s Riyom Local Government Area. They were killed, and three others seriously injured, on Tuesday (Nov. 7) evening at about 7:30 p.m. in Rim village as they returned from a nearby market.
In a text messsage to Morning Star News, COCIN Church Rim elder Gyang Dahoro identified those killed as Felix Ngwong, 34; Gyang Emmanuel, 29; Chuwang Bitrus, 31; Daniel Nini, 52; Dagam Danbwarang, 29; Rueben Danbwarang, 25, Sunday Danbwarang, 52; Dachollom Shom, 37; and Daniel Shom, 45.
Dahoro said the injured Dalyop Bwede, Darwang Samuel and Toma Sunday were being treated at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital in Jos.
The Rev. Dacholom Datiri, president of the COCIN, confirmed the killing of members of his church.
“We are saddened again by yet another attack on members of our church,” he said. “We have continued to be forced into mourning the death of some our members for no just cause. Whatever it is, our faith is dependent on Jesus Christ, our Savior.”
Istifanus Gyang, a member of parliament in Nigeria’s National Assembly, decried unabated attacks on Christians in Plateau state. Gyang said the attacks were carried out by “blood-thirsty killers and terror militia” whom he said were prosecuting “ruthless banditry and brutal slaughter” in order to wipe out Christian communities and occupy their lands.
“We shall therefore overcome this season, as it is written, “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning,” he said.
A similar attack was carried out in the same area a few weeks ago, when a Christian woman and her son and a daughter were brutally killed by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen who have been raiding Christian communities in the central Nigerian states of Plateau, Kaduna, Benue, Taraba and Niger.
The chairman of the Riyom Council, Emmanuel Damboyi, called for the arrest of Fulani leaders in Riyom, according to Nigerian newspaper The Nation, as they had vowed to attack Berom communities due to the alleged killing of a missing Fulani boy.
The Fulani leaders made the threat at a Security Council meeting, according to Damboyi.
“I think the Fulani leaders are not ready for peace, they should be arrested and questioned for these killings,” he reportedly said.
Plateau State Police Command spokesman Terna Tyopev said in a press statement that the number of those killed was 11, with four injured.
“Eleven people who were returning from a weekly village market of Makera were shot dead at about 7:30 p.m.,” he said. “No arrests yet, but investigations are ongoing, and we shall definitely get to the roots of this.”
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Nigeria ranks 12th on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.