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Pregnant Mother among Five Christians Slain in North-Central Nigeria

Muslim Fulani herdsmen have become heavily armed in recent years. (File photo)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – A pregnant mother of two children was among three Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in north-central Nigeria the night of July 14 and morning of July 15, sources said.

Margaret Wakili, a 27-year-old member of the Baptist Church in Ancha village, Plateau state, was slain on her farm at about 10 a.m. on July 15, area residents told Morning Star News.

The herdsmen attacked the Christian communities of Ancha, Tafigana, Kperie, Hukke and Rikwechongu, killing the three Christians and burning down 75 houses and two church buildings, according to area residents Patience Moses, Zongo Lawrence and Chinge Dodo Ayuba.

Ancha village was the scene of an attack two years ago, when Fulani herdsmen killed 22 Christians, all members of the Baptist Church in the village.

Moses told Morning Star News by phone that Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked the villages on the night of July 14 and the early hours of July 15. In Tafigana village, Bassa County, she said, they killed Thomas Wollo, 46, and his son, Ngwe Thomas Wollo, 7.

“Both of them were ambushed and killed in Tafigana village as they were returning to their home after attending a church program at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Tafigana, at about 8:30 pm,” she said.

Lawrence, of Miango town, told Morning Star News that the herdsmen beheaded the elder Wallo after killing him. He said attacks on Christian communities in the area have heightened, with one village or another attacked nearly every day.

“We have been experiencing daily attacks by these Fulani herdsmen in our communities, most especially on Sundays during worship hours or Thursdays when church activities are held,” he said.

Lawrence said that 75 houses with food stores and two church buildings were burned down.

“The herdsmen destroyed farm produce worth millions of naira, and a lot of domestic animals were killed in the two villages,” he said.

The attacks on the farms occurred on July 14 as Christians were in worship services in the villages, he said.

Ayuba, another resident of the area, confirmed that Wollo and his son were killed on July 14.

“The attacks by the herdsmen continued on Monday morning with another village, Ancha, attacked, and a woman killed,” Ayuba said. “As a people, we are continuously under attack, and nobody seems to be hearing our cries for help, while killing of our people has now become a routine.”

Two other area Christians were killed in prior attacks. On July 7 in Kperie village of Kwall District, also in Bassa County, the herdsmen ambushed and killed a Christian identified as Ezekiel Audu, 25, at about 9 pm., Moses said.

“Christian residents said Audu was riding his motorcycle in company of his friends when they were ambushed and shot by the herdsmen,” she said. “He was a member of ECWA [Evangelical Church Winning All] church in Kperie village.”

Prior to the July14-15 assaults, the herdsmen also attacked Hukke and Rikwechongu villages, destroying crops on farms belonging to Christians.

On May 3 at about 10 p.m., the herdsmen had attacked the same two villages, killing a Christian identified as 63-year-old Di Zere. Zere was killed in his room when the herdsmen broke into his house as he and his family were sleeping. His corpse was burnt, and his 10-year-old daughter sustained gunshot wounds.

Lawrence said Fulani herdsmen have killed 17 area Christians this year.

“We are left without rescue,” he said. “Houses were burnt and razed down, alongside many churches. Farm produce has been destroyed, while many with gunshot wounds are currently in hospitals. Hundreds of our people have been killed by the Fulani herdsmen in the past three years.”

Enugu State Shooting

In southeastern Nigeria’s Enugu state, Fulani herdsmen shot and wounded a Catholic priest and one of his parishioners on Wednesday (July 17), sources said.

The Rev. Ikechukwu Ilo of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, in Numeh, was shot as he and Chika Egbo drove along the Numeh-Nenwe Highway in Nkanu East County at about 7 p.m., according to a church press statement.

The statement from the Catholic Church quotes the priest as saying that those who attacked them were armed herdsmen.

“As we drove towards the village, the Fulani killer herdsmen, who spoke both in English and Fulani languages, opened fire, trying to force us to stop,” Ilo said. “Seeing that we were not ready to cave in to their intimidation, they started raining bullets on our vehicle at close range, and in the process, shot me at my ankle and shoulder while the other victim was shot in her leg and waist.”

The Rev. Benjamin Achi, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, told Morning Star News by phone that the attack on the priest and parishioner was carried out by Fulani herdsmen.

“Fr. Ilo and the woman with him are currently receiving treatment at a Catholic Church health facility, the Annunciation Specialist Hospital, Emene, Enugu state,” Achi said.

Police also on Friday (July 19) confirmed the attack.

“The Enugu state command of the Nigeria Police Force through its operatives are investigating the attack on a priest identified as Rev. Fr. Ikechukwu Ilo of St. Patrick Parish, Numeh on Wednesday July 18, 2019, along the Numeh axis of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State,” police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu said in a press statement.

There is a history of attacks on Catholics in the state. In October 2016, herdsmen kidnapped two priests as the clergymen carried out pastoral duties in their local parishes. One of the kidnapped priests, the Rev. Aniako Celestine of St. Joseph Catholic Church, in Ukana, Udi County, was kidnapped by Fulani herdsmen while carrying out pastoral duties in the town of Ezeagu.

The second kidnapped priest, the Rev. Chijioke Amoke of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Onicha Enugu Ezike in Igboeze North County, was also kidnapped by armed herdsmen, diocesan officials reported.

Another Catholic priest, the Rev. Lazarus Nwafor, in August 2016 was killed by herdsmen when they attacked Attakwu town in Enugu state. The Rev. Callistus Onaga, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, stated then that Nwafor was cut several times in the attack by the herdsmen on the Attakwu Christian community in Nkanu West County.

Such attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen have adversely affected churches and crippled productive activities in the area, church leaders say.

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 ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

Coptic Christian Arrested for Allegedly Insulting Islam on Facebook in Egypt

Egypt, (Morning Star News) – A young Coptic Christian man has been arrested near Cairo, Egypt for allegedly insulting Islam after a hacker posted material on his Facebook page, he and family members said.

Fady Yousef, 25, was arrested early in the morning of June 11 in Giza, southwest of Cairo, despite having posted a video explaining that hackers had placed the offending material on his Facebook page, according to the Coptic Bishopric of Maghagha and El Edwa in Minya.

The previous night (June 10), Muslim extremists angry over the offending material attacked his parents’ home in Eshneen el Nasara village, near Maghgaha in Minya Governorate, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) south of Giza, according to a statement from the bishopric.

“On Monday [June 10] some extremists reaching a few hundred from Eshneen el Nasara village and the villages around it attacked the home of Yousef Todary,” the statement from Bishop Anba Aghathon read. “They entered and destroyed the contents of the house, then moved to the house next door where his brother lived and attacked it from the outside. They were shouting against the Christian religion and the Copts of the village.”

Damage to home of parents of Fady Yousef in village in Minya Governorate, Egypt. (Nader Shukry, Facebook)

Yousef Todary, his wife and daughter were able to escape minutes before the Muslim extremists broke in and destroyed the refrigerator, television set, mattresses, furniture and windows, according to the bishop.

Stating that Muslim extremists alleged the post was insulting to Islam, the bishop defended Fady Yousef, reiterating that he said his Facebook was hacked.

The young Copt posted an apology on the page saying he would never do such a thing, and that people who knew him know this well. His sister, Nermeen Yousef, also posted a clarification, saying her brother apologized not because he did anything wrong, but because people mistakenly believed that he was the author of the post, according to Copts United.

“He is apologizing because he respects your feelings,” she wrote. “He is not a child to do such a thing, and also his friends are Muslims and always tell me they are dear to him and they know this well.”

Along with Fady Yousef, police also detained his brother and uncle; two other uncles turned themselves in as soon as they heard that police sought them, according to various sources. They were all transported to Minya pending investigations, and on Friday (June 15) Copts United reported that the brother and uncles had been released.

Yousef is in custody facing charges of posting material offensive to religion, according to Copts United. Insulting a heavenly religion (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) in Egypt, where the state religion is Islam, is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of 500 to 1,000 Egyptian pounds (US$30 to US$60), according to Article 98(f) of the Penal Code.

Police reportedly arrested 25 people suspected of attacking the home of Yousef Todary and those of other Christians in the village, as well as others who wrote posts on social media to instigate attacks.

Police reportedly dispersed angry crowds and set up protective posts in Eshneen el Nasara and other villages. They also set a protective perimeter around the village the following Friday (June 14) in anticipation of possible violence, according to Copts United.

The bishop’s statement noted that Reda Eid, a Muslim from the same village, during Easter posted derogatory words against Christianity, the church and its leadership. Eid later went to the church leaders to apologize, taking some of his Christian friends with him, according to the statement. Father Soliman responded “You are our son, you came here and I accept your apology, we are all brothers,” thus ending the incident, according to Copts United.

Egypt ranked 16th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Armed Gunmen Kidnap 19 Christians, Kill One in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Pastor, daughter among 17 abducted in one attack, while another assault claims a life.

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Suspected Fulani herdsmen stormed a church choir practice and kidnapped 17 Christians in north-central Nigeria the night of May 18, and the same night gunmen killed a Christian and kidnapped two others at a Baptist church, sources said.

Each attack took place in Kaduna state, where assaults on Christians with impunity have recently ramped up in the increasingly lawless country.

In Dankande village, in the Dogon Dawa area of Birnin Gwari County 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the city of Kaduna, the gunmen attacked Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) after midnight, at 12:30 a.m. on May 19, as a combined choir made up of members of two churches was at a 9 p.m.-to-1 a.m. rehearsal, one of the choir members said.

“As we were in the church, Fulani herdsmen numbering over 20 just surrounded the church and started shooting,” Ezekiel Ishaya told Morning Star News. “Everybody was terrified, but there was no way we could run because they had already surrounded the church. They were asking for the pastor’s house, and they threatened to shoot us if we don’t show them the house. Some of them went to the pastor’s house while others kept watch over us.”

The Rev. Nathaniel Waziri, chairman, of the ECWA Zaria District Church Council, confirmed in a press statement on Thursday (May 23) that the gunmen kidnapped the Rev. Zakariya Ido, his daughter and 15 other church members, including the son of the pastor of an Assemblies of God Church.

“The gunmen came and asked everyone in the church to surrender phones and thereafter demanded the whereabout of the pastor,” he said. “After threatening the choristers, they became afraid and showed them the pastor’s house.”

Ishaya said besides the ECWA pastor and his daughter, 10 females and five males were abducted.

“It was in the midst of the confusion that I escaped from the attackers,” Ishaya said.

The Rev. Emmanuel Ibrahim, chairman of the Birnin Gwari chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), confirmed the assault and said Nasara Baptist church in Guguwa-Kwate village, in the Rigasa area of Igabi County 37 kilometers (22 miles) north of the city of Kaduna, was attacked the same night.

“One member was killed and two other members were kidnapped the same night by another group of Fulani herdsmen,” Pastor Ibrahim told Morning Star News, identifying the slain Christian as Obadiah Samson.

Kaduna Kidnappings

Christians and churches in Kaduna state have been under attack for years by either herdsmen or Muslim terrorist groups.

Armed herdsmen in May 2017 kidnapped pastor James Effiong Okon of The Apostolic Church in Zaria while he was on his way from Zaria, Kaduna state, to the city of Kaduna. Pastor Okon was area superintendent of the Apostolic Church in Lawna, Cote D’Ivoire, before being transferred to Zaria.

There has been no word of him since he was kidnapped.

In March 2016, a Fulani gang kidnapped three pastors. The president and vice president of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria (HEKAN), the Rev. Emmanuel Dziggan and the Rev. Illiya Anthony respectively, along with the Rev. Yakubu Dzarma, were abducted from Dutse village in Kaduna state. Pastor Anthony fell ill and was reportedly left in the forest to be found by relatives, while the other two church leaders were held for nine days before a ransom was paid for their release.

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 ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

NIGER – Priest wounded in Catholic parish attacked, Sahel Christian communities increasingly at risk

Niger: On May 13, unidentified people attacked the parish of Dolbel, belonging to the diocese of Niamey, which is located about 200 km from Niamey, in the Songhay-Zerma area.

The parish priest, Fr. Nicaise Avlouké, was wounded in one hand and leg, and is a guest in the military camp. Missionary sources told Agenzia Fides,

“There have long been ‘rumors’ of possible attacks on the parish and priests in particular. This last fact only confirms the deterioration of the security situation in the border area with Burkina Faso.”

The defense forces appear little prepared for this new stage of Sahelian terrorism”. In Niger there is still no news of Fr. Pier Luigi Maccalli, the SMA missionary abducted in Niger on the night between 17 and 18 September 2018. 

Gunmen Attacked Nigerian Christian Community in Michika

Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) by our Nigeria Correspondent—Boko Haram terrorists attacked a village in Adamawa State which forced residents to flee to the mountains.

Kwada Tizhe, an eye witness of the Boko Haram attack in the Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, shared with VOPs correspondent during an interview. I was lying down, resting with my family at home in the evening hours on Monday (March 18, 2019). Around 6:40 in the evening, I heard the echo of gun shots which I initially thought was the military testing their rifles. Within a short time, the shots sounded closer and consistent. We began to hear the heavy weapons and could see the red fire flare of bullets sailing through the air. Then followed  sounds of rocket launchers and explosive devices. When I realized Boko Haram was attacking and saw everyone scattering, I joined the men, women and children that were running for cover.

The Boko Haram rode in on many motorcycles and an open-bodied truck. They were shooting and throwing bombs and kept approaching closer while we were running to the hills. It was fortunate the attack happened at night when it was hard to see from a distance which direction we were running to. If it had been earlier, the casualties could have been higher.

The militants separated themselves into groups. Some went straight to the Union Bank, bombed the entrance and took lots of money. Others proceeded to the market square, broke into shops and carted away many food stuffs such as rice, macaroni, indamine and other provision items. They virtually emptied all the shops and loaded all the food items into their truck.

The other group kept shooting and throwing bombs in every direction. Unfortunately, 4 people were shot and all of them died in route to the hospital. Apart from the 4 that were killed, an elderly person was shocked with the sounds of the explosives and died due to a history of high blood pressure.

“The attack continued for hours, then they left the town through another route. While they were moving, the truck was damaged. They abandoned it after removing the money and looted items. Security forces came from Yolo, Madagali and Mubi to surround the town.” Contrary to reports, the villagers claim they showed up after the attack.

Our correspondent asked, What are the possible reasons for the attack?

Response: I think they have been specifically targeting Michika because it’s the largest Christian community with strong political/economical influence. We have heard several times from them that they would wipe us away. All these persecutions started because of the following reasons.

In the 2015 Presidential elections, we voted for President Good Luck Jonathan against the present sitting President (Muhammadu Buhari). Since then, the Muslim communities around us were not happy and they decided to plot to a point that lead to the separation of our market square.

The Muslims fixed ‘market day’ on Sunday’s which affected church service worship. When we drew their attention to it and asked them to consider our faith, they refused to pay attention because it was deliberate. We then organized all the Christians in the churches and changed the market day from Sunday to Saturday and patronized our brethren shops. The Muslims were so angry that they made multiple advances to armed groups to attack us.

Another reason is the coronation of a Christian brother as King of Michika which was recently done by the traditional ruler. They were shocked for a Christian to emerge as King in northern Nigeria. They consider it as taboo for an infidel to obtain this kind of title. They vowed that they would wipe away the community and even attack the king.

The forth reason might not be far from political interest. We always vote for the candidate that supports Christians. This 2019 election, we voted against the sitting President and the governor before the INEC declared it inconclusive. A new election was scheduled this Saturday, March 23, 2019. They know we will vote against the sitting governor. In their thinking, if we leave the town in fear of a Boko Haram attack, then it would give them room to rig the elections.

I think above all, as do others, that the Boko Haram has run short of money and food items. That’s why they attacked us. In any case, we are all back to our homes now, and we are going nowhere.

Voice of the Persecuted is committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief and encouragement. We are committed to our mission called PROJECT 133 in Nigeria. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and thankful for each one of you who have joined this mission through your prayers and support.

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

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If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. Donations always desperately needed.

Christian Family, Church Devastated by Killing of Church Elder in Nigeria

(Morning Star News) – Ladi Yakubu does not know how her family will eat after Muslim Fulani herdsmen destroyed crops on their farm in Kaduna state, Nigeria on Nov. 26 and shot and killed her husband.

“My husband is no more alive, and so the burden to feed our children is on me,” she said. “How do I feed them without having a job? And I cannot go to the farm because of the murderous activities of these herdsmen.”

The 49-year-old Yakubu, a member of the Dogo Awo village congregation of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in north-central Nigeria, said she knew the gunmen were Fulani herdsmen because they have lived near the village for several years. Herdsmen also destroyed crops on their farm in late 2016 and late 2017, she said.

Her husband, ECWA elder Yakubu Musa, was 50.

Her 20-year-old son, Believe Yakubu, received a bullet wound in his leg in the attack. Her other children are ages 15, 18, 23, 26 and 28, but without access to their farm outside the village, the adult children have little income-earning power.

The attack was different from night-time raids that have terrorized Christians in north-central and other states in Nigeria. Church members were helping the family to harvest rice the morning of Nov. 26, she said, when they stopped for lunch at about noon.

“As we were eating, a Fulani man came over to where we were sitting under a tree,” Yakubu told Morning Star News. “We offered him food, but he declined to eat with us. When my husband asked the Fulani man whether he needed help in anyway, the man said he was only out to find areas he could take his cattle to for grazing.”

The herdman left, but soon they heard gunshots near the farm, she said. The frightened church members returned to the village, while Yakubu, her husband and their son and nephew stayed to gather the harvest into one place and try to move tools and equipment, she said.

“While we were doing this, the Fulani man returned with one other Fulani,” Yakubu said. “Both of them were armed with guns. They shot at us, killing my husband and shooting my son on the leg, while me and my husband’s nephew narrowly escaped being shot. My husband was shot twice in the stomach.”

The armed herdsmen left the area, she said, but the next morning they returned and destroyed crops, water-pumping machines for irrigation, herbicide sprayers and even the food warmers the family had taken to the farm, she said.

“My husband’s corpse was recovered by our church members, and he was buried here in our house,” she said, pointing to the grave. “That is the grave you see by the door to this room where we are seated.”

Police Inaction Emboldens Herdsmen

After a Nov. 25, 2016 raid, when Fulani herdsmen destroyed rice, beans, pepper and other crops, her husband reported the attack to police and the leader of the local Fulani community, but they took no action, Yakubu said.

“No action was taken against them, but then my husband, who loves peace, said we should forgive the Fulani herdsmen and continue to work on the farm and trust God for provisions,” she said.

The police inaction emboldened Fulani herdsmen to return again during the harvest season of 2017 and destroy crops, she said. Again her husband reported the attack to police and the local Fulani leader, with no result.

“We were all devastated by the actions of these herdsmen as we were never compensated even once for the destruction on our farms,” Yakubu said. “Yet they still returned to kill my husband on the same farm they had destroyed our crops.”

Every morning during family devotionals, she said, her husband would instruct them never to repay evil with evil.

“‘Leave judgment of every evil act against you to God,’ he would always tell us,” she said, sobbing. “And in obedience to his instructions, we have forgiven those who murdered my husband. We will never avenge his death, as God says, ‘Vengeance is mine.’”

The Fulani herdsmen killed Yakubu Musa though he had never done anything to them, she said.

“All our crops have been destroyed, and it is not even safe for us to venture out there to even glean on these farms,” she said. “And because of this, I find it difficult to provide food to our six children.”

On Wednesday (Jan. 2), the herdsmen attacked other Christians who went to their fields near Dogo Awo, she said. Dogo Awo village is located south of the town of Jagindi Tasha, Jama’a Local Government Area.

“My only appeal is that those who have the heart to want to help us with prayers and want to help us with something to feed on should please kindly do so,” she said.

Church Affected

A graduate of the College of Education, Gidan Waya, in Kaduna state, with a Nigerian Certificate of Education, Yakubu had taught at a public primary school before she and other Christian teachers were laid off in what has been seen as systematic discrimination by a state government controlled by a Muslim governor.

The Rev. Ali Ndaks, pastor of the ECWA Church in Dogo Awo village, said the killing of his church elder has devastated the congregation.

“Before this incident, our church, even though a small congregation, had 50 members,” Pastor Ndaks said. “But with the incessant attacks on our community, we now have only seven members left. Almost all Christians in this village have fled out of fear of the attacks by the herdsmen.”

The pastor said that herdsmen had also destroyed his farm, as well as those of other villagers.

Musa also served as church secretary, financial secretary, and service leader, Pastor Ndaks said.

“He was a man of peace, always ensuring that issues in the church were resolved amicably,” he added.

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 ranked 14th on Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.Photo: Fulani herdsman

Church elder Yakubu Musa, killed in Muslim Fulani herdsmen attack on Nov. 26, 2018. (Morning Star News)

Photo 1. Fulani herdsman

Photo 2. Church elder Yakubu Musa, killed in Muslim Fulani herdsmen attack on Nov. 26, 2018. (Morning Star News) Photo: Fulani herdsman

More than 20 Christians drown escaping Fulani atackers

The five villages are all situated along the Benue River. (World Watch Monitor)

(World Watch Monitor) A pastor was one of at least 27 people who lost their lives following fresh attacks carried out by Fulani militants on five predominantly Christian communities in northeast Nigeria in recent days. Many of them drowned as they attempted to escape via the local river.

Various sources contacted by World Watch Monitor confirmed that the attacks took place between 13 to 16 September, and affected the villages of Gon, Bolki, Ndumusu, Yotti and Yanga, in Numan local government area (LGA), Adamawa state.

This is the same area where 3,000 homes were destroyed in December 2017, after fighter jets sent by the Nigerian Air Force were alleged to have fired rockets at villages where Fulani herdsmen were attacking Christian residents, according to a February report by Amnesty International.

A local pastor, who wanted to remain anonymous for security reasons, said 27 people had been buried following the latest attacks, which targeted communities along the Benue River. He added that, on hearing sounds of guns, many were scared and fled into the bush, or drowned attempting to escape via the river as they could not swim. He said that ten people are still missing, four from Yanga and six from Bolki.

“Nobody knows the whereabouts of these people missing. Since their dead bodies are not found, it is too early to declare them dead. We will give them the benefit of doubt; maybe some of them may return home to their families,” the pastor said.

Rev. Gerison Ezekiel Killa, 43, of the Boiki Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, was one of those who drowned. He is survived by his wife and six children.

More than 45 others were injured. The assailants also looted and burned down many homes, and stole cattle.

Rahab Solomon, a survivor from Bolki village, said the attackers stormed their community at about 3pm and began shooting indiscriminately.

“My husband and I went to Numan to my pick up our children around 2pm. At about 3pm, while we were on our way back home, we heard that our village was under attack and that three persons were killed,” she recalled.

“We couldn’t go back home because we were told that our house was burnt. So we came to stay in this camp.

“The next day [14 September] we called my husband’s brother and he told us that the Fulani chased our people and killed so many of them. Those who tried to run through the river were shot and many who tried to escape through the river, but could not swim, died as well; those who could swim were able to survive. We heard that over 25 bodies were recovered from the river. The exact number of people who died in the attack is yet to be known as the place is still under attack.

“We were told that the Fulani militants burnt down all our houses, and some women and children who hid in the farms were abducted by the Fulani. We no longer have a place to call home. Right now we are helpless.”

Jidauna Igiya, the head of Gon village, who survived the attack, recalled the moment his village was attacked:

“On Sunday [16 September], we were home with our families; we did not know that the Fulani were coming to attack us. Although we heard rumours earlier that there was a planned attack by the Fulani on Pasham and Lau villages, so we did not think they will attack us since we did not receive such messages, but at about 4pm, we heard gunshot sounds. Everybody in the village sought cover and began to run for safety, as the Fulani were shooting and burning houses.

“The Fulani burnt all our houses. No house is standing right now and we cannot go back to our villages. The Fulani also moved from our village to Ndumusu, from Ndumusu to Yanga, from Yanga to Bolki, and continued their attack, killing more people and burning more houses. They took away our cattle and looted our foodstuff and property and burnt the remaining things they could not take away. Twenty-six people were killed in our village, Gon, while two others were wounded.

“During the attack, we tried to call security forces but none came to our rescue. We managed to put our families, children, women and old people through the bush and that is how we were able to be saved. Right now we are all scattered. Some of us are still in the bush, taking shelter around Gon north, while some of our families are in Numan and others in other villages.

“Most people who tried to escape through the river during the attack lost their lives as the Fulani chased them because they could not swim. It is not easy for us right now to find food to eat. We have to go to nearby villages to get food for our survival.”

Responding to the attack, the state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Stephen Mamza, lamented that innocent Christians were being “killed by these so-called herdsmen on a daily basis, without security forces responding appropriately to stop them from hurting Christians”.

He said the “incessant attacks on Christians has led to hunger and starvation, adding that if these Christians are not aided many will die of starvation”.

Mamza said some them who fled to Numan are taking refuge in a local primary school, while others are staying with relatives.

Solomon Faider, an eyewitness who fled from Ndumusu and took refuge in a relative’s house in Numan, said the herdsmen attacks on Christian farmers in southern Adamawa state have “gone on for three or four years now, without the government or anybody else finding a solution”.

“There seems to be collusion between the military and the killer herdsmen group,” he said.

“Where the suspected killer herdsmen are reported to be attacking from is called Abbare. This place is just a 30 minutes’ drive from Numan, and the military have been informed of the impending attack four hours before it happened.”

The member representing Numan at the Adamawa state House of Assembly, Sodom Tayedi, also lamented the failure of the security forces to prevent the attacks.

“There are soldiers camped in Abbare, yet these attackers will always mobilise from that Abbare”, she told World Watch Monitor. “There is never a time they’ll attack and I don’t call security forces as member representing the constituency.

“I just called the Brigade Commander again and he assured me that troops are on their way to the area.

“We had intelligence report of the attack and reported to the paramount ruler [local chief], who always passes the same information to the security forces, but they [the Fulani] will always come and destroy our community,” she lamented.

Tayedi also said that even if the soldiers were able to mobilise, they may not be able to reach the affected villages due to flooding problems at this time.

At the time of writing, the police spokesman in the state, Habibu Musa, was yet to comment on the attack.

Christian Loses Sight in One Eye in Attack by Muslim Neighbors

Vikram John. (Morning Star News)

Pakistan (Morning Star News) – A young Christian man in Karachi, Pakistan lost sight in one eye when armed, Muslim neighbors attacked his family, his father said.

Vikram John, 25, lost sight in his left eye after Muslim neighbors who had pressured his family to leave the neighborhood with months of harassment beat him and other family members on the night of Aug. 18, his father Alvin John told Morning Star News by phone.

“After exchanging a few hot words with the Muslim youths led by a political activist named Ihsan, Vikram came inside the house,” Alvin John said. “Moments later, bricks and stones came smashing through our window glass and hitting our gate. The attackers threatened us, saying to move out of the neighborhood if we wanted to stay alive as they hurled curses and abuses on us.”

Earlier in the evening, Vikram John was involved in a minor altercation with Muslim neighbors who had teased his 18-year-old sister, said his father, who 10 months ago moved the family to Karachi’s Mehmoodabad No-II neighborhood from Sahiwal District in Punjab Province.

“This wasn’t the first time they had harassed her,” he said. “For months we had been requesting the boys’ families to stop the hooliganism, but it seems that they had found this to be an effective tool to intimidate us, so the harassment continued unabated.”

The Muslims have been harassing and intimidating the family, who belong to an Assemblies of God church, since they moved into the rented house, he said – teasing his children when they stepped out the doorway and mocking them for being Christian.

Although there is a sizeable Christian population in the Mehmoodabad area, the John family is the only one on their street of 15 to 20 Muslim families, he said, adding that the neighbors tried various antics to force them out.

“Soon after the Muslims started harassing us, I had made up my mind that I would not let my children suffer in this environment,” he said. “I was waiting for the 12-month rental agreement to finish so that we could relocate to some other area or even go to Lahore and start afresh. I wish I had the financial means to leave that neighborhood earlier.”

Alvin John said that when a group of Muslims started pelting their home with stones the evening of Aug. 18, they broke window panes and damaged the gate.

He said that the Muslim leading the assailants, Ihsan, was affiliated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a Karachi-based political party notorious for supporting gangs of assassins and extortionists in the financial hub of the country.

“After the attackers left the scene, I told some neighbors who had gathered there that we were going to launch legal action and sought their assistance in the matter,” he said. “However, around 11 p.m., some 30 armed Muslims attacked our house again, this time forcing their way into our home. Someone had informed them about our intention to approach the police, so they had come to ‘teach us a lesson.’”

He said that the assailants beat him and his two sons as his wife and daughter screamed in panic.

“They beat Vikram mercilessly while my younger [22-year-old] son Sunil and I made frantic efforts to save him,” he said. “The Muslims beat us too, but our injuries are not serious. The attackers also broke the furniture and ransacked our other belongings.”

Police and other security officers eventually arrived and took them to Jinnah Hospital, where they learned that Vikram John, a chemical engineering student, had lost sight in his left eye, besides serious injuries to other parts of his body, he said.

Alvin John said he suspects police have made no arrests because of the Muslim gang’s political backing.

“I was contacted by the brother of a senator belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, who assured us of support in registering the case and bringing the assailants to justice, but so far there has been no progress in the arrests,” he said.

Mehmoodabad Police Inspector Muhammad Sarwar told Morning Star News that police were making efforts to arrest the accused persons.

“No one, including MQM or any other political or religious group, can go scot-free after committing such crimes,” he said.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Sen. Saeed Ghani told Morning Star News by phone from Karachi that he had been informed about the incident by PPP Christian lawmaker Anthony Naveed.

“My brother Farhan Ghani, who is the chairman of the local municipality in Mehmoodabad, is already extending full cooperation to Naveed in helping the Christian family seek justice,” Ghani said. “It is against Islam’s preaching to target people belonging to minority communities, and PPP has always condemned religious extremism and persecution.”

Pakistan is ranked fifth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 Word Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

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