Nigeria, (Morning Star News) – Two young Christian women and a 6-year-old boy were killed this week while other Christians were kidnapped or slain as uncontested lawlessness by Fulani herdsmen continued in Nigeria, sources said.
In Plateau state the herdsmen attacked Kpachudu village in Miango District, Bassa County west of Jos, at about 8 p.m. on Monday (Sept. 28), said area resident Patience Moses in a text message to Morning Star News. Slain were Emmanuel David, 6; Asabe John, 25; and Mary Andrew, 18, she said.
Last week a 64-year-old Christian community leader was one of eight Christians killed in Plateau state by Fulani herdsmen, who are predominantly Muslim. Chundung Bulus, 52, said her husband, Bulus Chuwang Janka, was lured out of his house by a call to his cell phone the evening of Sept. 21 in Rasat village, Barkin Ladi County.
“We were watching a program on television together with my husband at about 7:30 p.m. when suddenly our electric generator switched off – and suddenly, his mobile phone rang,” she told Morning Star News.
Her husband went outside to try to find a spot for better network reception, she said.
“A few minutes after he stepped out of the house, we heard distress shouts for help from him,” said Bulus, whose family belongs to the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN). “My son and I rushed out to find out what was happening, when his attackers also shot at us. We were able to identify them as herdsmen. We escaped and hid ourselves and saw how my husband was being cut with machetes by the herdsmen.”
Fulani herdsmen also attacked their village on July 17, she said.
Dagallang Dabot, chairman of the Berom Educational and Cultural Organization, confirmed the killing in a text message and decried numerous attacks on Christians in the area.
“We are getting tired of being subjected to violence by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen without the Nigerian government doing anything to end these unprovoked attacks on us,” Dabot said.
On Sept. 24 in Jos South County’s K-Vom town, Vwang District, Fulani herdsmen killed five men and wounded another, all members of COCIN or Catholic churches, in an attack at about 9 p.m., Christian attorney Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri told Morning Star News.
He identified those killed as Goyit Paul, Timothy David, Pam Chukwak, Audu Tahiru and Emmanuel Isaiah, a student at the National Veterinary Research Institute; Dalyop Gyang survived with injuries.
In Riyom County, Fulani herdsmen on Sept. 23 killed a woman and her son as they worked on their farm in Sopp village, Mwantiri said.
“The victims, Mrs. Margaret Bwede and her son Dadong Bwede, sustained fatal injuries when they were attacked at about 2 p.m. as they were cultivating their farm,” he said. “They were both members of the COCIN church in Sopp village.”
Also in Riyom County on Sept. 23, a throng of armed herdsmen attacked field workers in Jol village at about 11 a.m., injuring nine of them, including 38-year-old widow Naomi Joshua.
“We were working on our fields near a mining site when about 100 Fulani herdsmen armed with guns and machetes attacked us,” Joshua told Morning Star News. “We all scampered in different directions, but nine amongst us were injured. Our community has constantly been attacked by herdsmen, and we find it difficult to work on our farms.”
Those wounded, all members of COCIN church, received hospital treatment, she said. Besides Joshau, Mwantiri identified the other Christian victims as James Musa, 32; Alpha Pam, 24; Joshua Bwede, 40; Richard Chong, 22; Davou Yakubu Darian, 35; Darwang Gyang, 30; Timothy Dachollom, 28; and Dachung Gambous, 51.
Earlier in the month, herdsmen on Sept. 11 ambushed four COCIN members of Wereng village, Riyom County, shooting one of them dead, said community leader Davou Gyang.
“Mr. Francis Gyang, 25, was killed while the remaining three escaped,” Davou Gyang said in a text message.
One of the survivors, Friday Gyanga, described the attack to Morning Star News.
“There were about 10 armed herdsmen with guns, machetes, and cudgels who ambushed us,” Gyanga said by text message. “They shot at us, and Francis was hit by the bullets. He died instantly while we escaped.”
Herdsmen also ambushed and killed a Christian couple on Sept. 6 in Hukke village, near the town of Miango in Bassa County, Moses said. Members of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) church in Hukke, 45-year-old Sunday Audu Evi and his wife, Siye Evi, 32 were killed shortly before 7 p.m.
Plateau Gov. Simon Lalong lamented the killings in in a press statement.
“Innocent people cannot be killed without anybody being apprehended and put to trial,” he said. “If we do not do so, more criminals will be bold to attack and kill innocent people.”
An ECWA pastor, the Rev. Chris Dariya, was kidnapped along with his son, Benji Dariya, by suspected Fulani herdsmen from their home in Jos on Tuesday (Sept. 29), a church spokesman said.
Pastor Dariya, also the director of his church-based Radio ELWA, was kidnapped at about 9 p.m. when suspected herdsmen broke into his home, said the Rev. Romanus Ebenwokodi, ECWA spokesman. Morning Star News learned on Wednesday (Sept. 30) that the pastor’s son had escaped.
“The son of Rev. Chris Dariya, who was kidnapped last night alongside his dad, has escaped from their captors, but his father is still being held,” Ralph Madugu, editor of the ECWA’s Today’s Challenge Magazine, told Morning Star News.
Lawlessness in Kaduna State
A Christian community leader in Kaduna state was kidnapped on Sunday (Sept. 27) by suspected Fulani herdsmen, and 21 others were kidnapped in separate attacks while eight Christians were killed, sources said.
Bege Katuka, council chairman of Kaura County in southern Kaduna state, was kidnapped as he went to survey his farm in Chikun County. He had hired a bikeman to take him by motorcycle, and the bikeman was shot dead in the kidnapping of Katuka, residents told Morning Star News.
On Sept. 11 suspected Fulani herdsmen kidnapped four Christians in an attack in Chikun County on predominantly Christian Udawa village and abducted 17 others the next day, area residents said.
Paul Iliya told Morning Star News by text message that the herdsmen attack on Udawa village went on uninterrupted for two days, through Sept. 12.
“Four Christian farmers were kidnapped on Friday, Sept. 11, while another set of 17 Christians were also kidnapped the following morning at about 7 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 12, as they were working on their farms,” Iliya said, adding that they were members of either Baptist or Assemblies of God churches.
As the suspected herdsmen kidnapped Christians working on their farms, another group of armed Fulani killed Christians in Zangon Kataf County, also in southern Kaduna state, according to Luka Binniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU).
The attack on residents of Manyi-Mashin village resulted in the killing of eight Christians and the destruction of their houses, Binniyat said in a statement.
“The Fulani militia killed a 60-year-old widow, a mother of six children, and a 56-year-old man in Manyi-Mashin village, Zamandabo ward, in Atyap Chiefdom,” Binniyat said. “The attack on the community took place in the early hours of Friday, Sept. 11, and the Fulani militias burned down almost all the houses in the village, looting and carting away valuables.”
In the same area on Sept. 8, he said, Fulani militia ambushed three Christians from Atakmawei village in Zamandabo Ward, killing one of them.
“The three Christian farmers had gone to work on their farms about a kilometer from their village,” he said. “The armed herdsmen came from hiding and struck, descending on them with daggers and machetes. Anthony Magaji, 25, was hacked down with an axe and machetes. Isaac Thomas, 24, managed to escape with life-threatening injuries and is now under intensive care in a hospital, while the third escaped with less injury.”
The same day, Fulani militias attacked Kitsarapang village in Kizachi Chiwo of Kizachi community, Tsam Chiefdom in Kauru County, killing 13-year-old Emmanuel David Yohanna, he said. Seriously wounded by gunshot were Sunday Zango Stephen, 48, and Zakka John, 23, who were being treated at a hospital in Jos, he said.
On Sept. 6, he added, three decomposing bodies of people herdsmen had kidnapped were found on the Kaduna-Abuja highway, Binniyat said.
“They were among four persons that were abducted during an attack by the herdsmen at Maraban Rido, a suburb of Kaduna in Chikun Local Government Area, all in southern Kaduna state,” he said. “They were killed after ransoms were paid.”
Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.
Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.
The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.
“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”
On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”
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.
VOP Note: Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.