Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Women and children were among nine Christians shot or hacked to death in an attack on Wednesday (June 3) in north-central Nigeria, with seven others kidnapped, sources said.
While more than 30 corpses of slain Christians still lay in nearby villages from prior attacks, Muslim Fulani herdsmen invaded predominantly Christian Tudun Doka village, Kajuru County in Kaduna state, early in the morning, area residents said.
“We woke up around 5 a.m. when we heard sounds of gunshots,” survivor Rifkatu Hassan told Morning Star News by phone. “The herdsmen attacked our homes and shot at us and cut others with machetes.”
She said most of those killed were women and children who were members of Assemblies of God, Baptist, Catholic and Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) churches. Hassan identified eight of them as Richard Yusuf, Kefas Yusuf, Fidelis Wada, Kachia, Genesis Soja, Victoria Gyata, Rose Soja and Rahab Soja.
At least two children were injured in the attack, 3-year-old Elizabeth Samaila and Rita Friday, 8, said area resident Alheri Magaji.
“May the blood that keeps being spilt cause sleep to depart from all those who carry out these attacks,” Magaji told Morning Star News.
Seven other Christians were taken away at gunpoint, area resident Williams Kaura Abba said by text message. He identified the same Christians killed as Hassan did, also unsure of the identity of the ninth victim.
Kajuru County authorities confirmed that nine people were killed in the attack.
“Tudu Doka village in Agwala Dutse general area was attacked this morning,” the chairman of the Kajuru Local Council, Cafra Caino, said in a press statement on Wednesday (June 3). “A detailed inventory of casualties is being taken. My heart goes out to all the families affected; may God grant the souls of the victims eternal rest.”
The attack follows similar herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Idazau, Etissi, Bakin Kogin, Dutsen Gora, Ungwar Gora, Pushu Kallah and Magunguna villages. More than 30 bodies of people killed in late May in 15 villages had yet to be retrieved as residents fled and Muslim Fulani herdsmen have taken them over, said Jonathan Asake, president of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) in a May 30 press statement.
“Our people cannot go there and recover their dead bodies,” Asake said. “In fact, over 30 Christians who were killed their corpses are still in the bush. Christians in the affected villages have not been allowed to go and recover these dead bodies for burial. The sad reality is that these corpses are already decomposing.”
The attack on Tudun Doka has left 60 people still unaccounted for, he said.
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.