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Muslim Fulani Kill 11 Christians, Wound Two, in Nigeria

Homes burned by Fulani assailants in Bassa County, Plateau state, Nigeria in February 2021. (David Mali photo)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot four Christians to death on Sunday (Feb. 14) in north-central Nigeria, following the killing of seven other Christians earlier in the month.

Muslim Fulani herdsmen ambushed the four members of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) at about 8 p.m. in Kwall District, Bassa County of Plateau state, three of them near Ri-Bakwa village and one in Zirshe village, according to David Mali, spokesman for the Irigwe Development Association (IDA). The IDA unites the predominantly Christian, ethnic Irigwe of Plateau state.

“Irigwe nation has again been thrown into the state of grief, heart-brokenness following the unwarranted killing of four of our Christian men by the Fulani herdsmen at two villages of Kwall District, Bassa LGA of Plateau state,” Mali said in a press statement. “Four of them from Rikwe-Chongu village were ambushed along Ri-Bakwa axis near Kpachudu, and three were killed instantly while one sustained gunshot injury. The other one from Zirshe (Ntireku) was ambushed and killed instantly.”

Mali identified the slain Christians as Ezekiel Maja, 29; Emmanuel Agaba, 39; Moses Daburu, 26; and Kefas Bulus David, 31. Wounded was Bitrus Ezra, 42.

The herdsmen burned several houses and food grains worth millions of naira in Zirshe village, he said.

“Irigwe nation is our land, and no amount of evil force can compel us to relinquish it to those who hate us and our Christian faith,” Mali said. “We are known for resilience, and so we shall remain till the end of age.”

Such unprovoked violence must be stopped, and the Christian Irigwe’s decision to be a peace-loving people who will not retaliate should not be taken as an act of cowardice, Mali said.

“In the same vein, we want to call with a high tone on the authorities saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property to step up efforts in ensuring that the needful is done in terms of apprehending the culprits and absolute justice served, so as to put an end to all manners of destruction of lives and property within Irigwe nation,” he said.

The killings followed a Feb. 7 Fulani herdsmen attack on Christians in the villages of Kishosho and Zirshe in southern Kaduna state’s Kauru County, Mali said. Church elder Danlami Sunday, 40, and four other Christians were killed, he said. There are villages called Zirshe in both Kaduna state and Plateau state.

“This attack occurred around 7:30 p.m. of Sunday, Feb. 7, where Fulani Herdsmen in their numbers ambushed and killed the harmless and innocuous people of Kishosho and Zirshe communities of Kauru LGA, Kaduna state,” he said. “One sustained some degrees of injury and has been hospitalized. The five Christians were killed at Kishosho and Zirshe villages. The herdsmen also attacked Kigam village and burned foods and grains.”

In Plateau state’s Miango area, in Bassa County, Fulani herdsmen on Feb. 2 ambushed and killed two Christians on a road in Dudu village, he said. Raphael Bawa, 39, was shot dead, while Aga Mabo was shot in the chest and later died at Enos hospital, according to Mali.

“In recent times, Fulani herdsmen have killed hundreds of our people, with thousands displaced, houses razed down and farmed crops destroyed, leaving behind 200 orphans and vulnerable children, as well as 50 women widowed,” he said.

School Attack

In Niger state on Wednesday (Feb. 17), gunmen attacked a boarding high school for boys, killing a Christian student and abducting 42 people, sources said.

Benjamin Habila was killed in the attack on the Government Science College, Kagara town in Rafi County, an area resident said.

“A Christian student, Benjamin Habila, was shot dead by the bandits as he tried to escape from them, while seven other Christian students and staffs were captured alongside other non-Christian students, staff and their family members,” Justina Aliyu told Morning Star News by text message. “They were taken away at gunpoint into forests.”

The gunmen, dressed in military camouflage, attacked between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m., reportedly gathering students outside and chasing and shooting those trying to escape, including Muslims.

Niger Gov. Abubakar Sani Bello said that 27 students, three staff members and 12 relatives were abducted.

A spokesman for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said armed forces and police had been directed to ensure the immediate and safe return of those abducted.

Aliyu, a Christian resident of Kagara, said the assailants were Fulani who broke into the school, shooting and raiding the staff quarters and student hostels. The statement from the governor’s office identified some among those kidnapped as Christians Philip Dodo and his wife, Hannatu Philip Dodo, Christiana Adama, Faith Adama, Shem Joshua, Ezekeil Danladi, Habakuk Augustine and Polonius Vincent.

About 1,000 students were at the school at the time of the attack.

Country with Most Christians Killed

Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.

Nigeria led the world in number of kidnapped Christians last year with 990, according to the WWL report. In the 2021 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.

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.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

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.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

Seven Christians Killed in Christmas Eve Attacks in Nigeria

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremist militants killed seven Christians in Christmas Eve attacks in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, according to area residents, while two people were reportedly killed in neighboring Adamawa state.

Residents of the villages of Pemi and Debro, near Chibok, Borno state said the insurgents were members of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, and that the militants burned a Church of the Brethren (EYN) building in Pemi. In addition, seven people were reportedly kidnapped, including a pastor.

Across the border in neighboring Adamawa state, residents of Garkida told Morning Star News that Boko Haram attacked at the same time on Dec. 24, but that Nigerian army forces repelled them. Adamawa Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, however, released a statement on Christmas Day saying two civilians had been killed in the attack, including a 5-year-old boy, before soldiers drove the rebels away.

In Borno state, the jihadists began their attacks on predominantly Christian Pemi and Debro at about 6 p.m., area residents said.

“Seven Christians were killed at Pemi, and the church building of EYN was completely burned by them,” area resident Awiya Lawan told Morning Star News by text message. “Houses, cars and stores were burned down. The Boko Haram gunmen carried out the attacks for three hours before soldiers arrived at the area at 9 p.m.”

Peter Solomon, another resident of the area, also said that heavily armed Boko Haram rebels, who seek to establish sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, killed seven Christians.

“The Boko Haram attackers destroyed the church building of EYN and looted foods from many houses before burning about 10 houses in Pemi, which is located about 20 kilometers [12 miles] away from Chibok town,” Solomon said

In Adamawa state, the attack by suspected Boko Haram militants forced Christians to halt Christmas preparations and flee into bushes to escape, area residents said.

“Garkida town in Adamawa state is under a massive attack,” area resident Joel Bahago said in a text message to Morning Star News. “Please pray for us, as this isn’t how we planned for Christmas, Lord.”

Another area resident, Rhoda Yadiwutuwa, said in a text message on Christmas Day that Nigeria’s armed forces had repelled the assailants but that most of the residents were still hiding in bushes and nearby hills.

“It is well with us people of Garkida, we shall hold our peace, because victory belongs to our God and Lord, Jesus Christ,” Yadiwutuwa said.

Markus Bulus wrote in a Christmas Day text that area resident were thankful.

“Whatever Boko Haram planned against us has failed,” Bulu said. “Whatever it is, we shall still celebrate Christmas. Jesus, we’re so grateful this day even with the bad experience we had last night. We have nothing to offer as our thanksgiving, but we offer our hearts in deep supplication to your majesty on this Christmas Day.”

Terror in Kaduna

In north-central Nigeria, a series of attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen across three counties of southern Kaduna state earlier this month killed 33 Christians, destroyed 18 homes and displaced more than 2,500 people, Christian leaders told Morning Star News.

On Dec. 17 in Zangon-Kataf County, the herdsmen killed at least 10 Christians in Goran Gan village and destroyed 18 homes, and on Dec. 21 they killed three others at Ungwan Jatau and Ungwan Gimba villages, area residents told Morning Star News in text messages.

Sule Tinat Bodam, general secretary of the Atyap Community Development Association and a Christian community leader in Zangon-Kataf, confirmed the attacks.

“On Dec. 17, the Gora Gan community was attacked by armed gunmen suspected to be Fulani militias on motorcycles,” Bodam said. “The attack left over seven people dead, and over 17 houses were burnt down. The Sheyin family was wiped out almost completely by the attackers.”

He identified those killed as Ayuba Sheyin, 69; his wife Jummai Sheyin, 55; their son Saviour Sheyin, 14; son Goodluck Sheyin, 11; daughter Patience Sheyin, 5; Peter Akau, 70; Joel Ishaya, 35; and Binta Musa Tauna, 85. In addition, 16-year-old Henry Jonathan was hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

“The Sheyin family lived just in front of the primary school where the military, meant to secure the village after previous attacks, are stationed,” Bodam said.

Luka Biniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), added in a Dec. 21 press statement that three more corpses had been recovered, bringing the number of Christians killed in Gora Gan to at least 10.

SOKAPU executives visited a camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Zonkwa, Zangon-Kataf County, where 2,500 Christian women and children were taking refuge after raids by armed herdsmen, Biniyat said.

Also in Zangon-Kataf County on Dec. 19, herdsmen killed four Christians in four other villages: Ungwan Gaiya, Ungwan Gimba, Ungwan Makama and Apimbu, according to state Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs Commissioner Samuel Aruwan.

“The military confirmed that two houses were burned in the Apimbu attack,” Aruwan said.

In Chikun County, herdsmen on Tuesday (Dec. 22) killed seven Christians and wounded four in Gbaja village and killed two more Christians in Ungwan Gwaiva, area sources said.

In Kajuru County, herdsmen killed three Christians in Kujeni village on Tuesday (Dec. 22), sources said.

The Rev. Ali Buba Lamido, archbishop of Kaduna Province of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), issued a statement on Thursday (Dec. 24) expressing concern over kidnappings that have accompanied the killing.

“Kidnapping has become the order of the day as these kidnappers get into people’s houses and abduct them without any resistance or challenge from the security agents,” Lamido said. “Many people have been abducted, and a lot of millions of naira were paid as ransom. Those kidnapped were subjected to dehumanizing conditions and traumatizing experiences. Some family members of the those kidnapped were shot while trying to escape from the kidnappers.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for further investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

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.

Twin Sisters Kidnapped, Pastor and Three Other Christians Killed in Nigeria

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – A church elder was shot as his daughters were kidnapped in northwest Nigeria on Friday (Sept. 18), days after a pastor and three other Christians in a north-central state were killed earlier this month.

Hassana and Hussaina Garba, teenaged Christian twin sisters, were kidnapped from their home beside their Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) worship building in Kwakware village, Kankara County in northwest Nigeria’s Katsina state, sources said. The kidnappers shot their father, ECWA elder Ibrahim Garba, in the stomach in the 10:30 p.m. assault, and sources said he was receiving hospital treatment.

Kidnappings by various criminal elements have become rampant in Katsina state the past few years, with the high number committed by predominantly Muslim Fulanis prompting Gov. Aminu Masari to warn last year that the tribe risks being targeted by vigilantes.

Kwakware area resident Charles Yahaya said kidnapping has long been a problem in Katsina state but has intensified.

“Testimonies and exhibits at the crime scene show that the kidnappers were very organized, very informed on their target and heavily armed,” Yahaya told Morning Star News by text message. “This is one incident among many. It is the sustained and targeted kidnapping of Christian girls in northern Nigeria, after which they are forcefully converted to Islam and married off, thereby becoming sex slaves. Something is going on in our country that needs to be addressed systematically and collectively by all well-meaning citizens.”

Area resident Saminu Adamu called for prayer for the rescue of the sisters.

“It’s heart-breaking and becoming unbearable; Christian twin sisters were kidnapped at their residence,” Adamu told Morning Star News by text message. “Family of Christ, please pray for their safe release in the hand of their captors.”

Yahaya said another teenaged Christian girl was kidnapped in Soba, Kaduna state, on Aug. 30 and forced to convert to Islam.

“Aliyah, a young Christian girl who was the last born of seven children and the only daughter of a widow, was kidnapped on the 30th,” he said. “On that fateful day, she went to church but never returned home.”

Her mother reported the disappearance to Soba Local Government Area police. On Sept.1 officers told her come to the station as her daughter was there, he said.

“When the mother got there, unknown to her, Aliyah had been forced to convert to Islam,” Yahaya told Morning Star News. “Aliyah completely denied knowing the mother. Nevertheless, the mother demanded release of her daughter. The DPO [Divisional Police Officer] refused to grant this request, but rather returned Aliyah to the Muslim abductors and later transferred the case to Zaria Area Command. All efforts made by the girl’s mother and members of the church to have the girl return back to her mother could not yield a positive result.”

On Sept. 7 police transferred the case to Kaduna headquarters on grounds that the kidnapping had become an interfaith conflict, he said.

“The mother, lawyers, and Christian body tried to intervene, but the police unlawfully detained her to be presented to the Interfaith Committee in Kaduna State,” Yahaya said. “As prayers intensified, the girl began crying and pleading with the police to release her to go back home. But the police insisted on her unlawful detention to achieve the wish of her abductors to Islamize the young Christian girl.”

After more prayer and the involvement of other well-meaning Nigerians, the girl was released back to her mother, he said.

“Others have not been so lucky, and many are still at risk,” Yahaya said. “Christian girls, many of whom are minors, go missing on their way to or from school or church. Something needs to be done urgently to arrest such brazen unconstitutional acts.”

Four Christians Slain

In Kaduna state, suspected Fulani herdsmen killed an ECWA pastor and three other Christians in attacks in which they kidnapped other Christians.

The Rev. Alubara Audu, a 45-year-old father of five, was killed in Buda, Kajuru County in a Sept. 6 attack at 2 a.m., according to a statement from Awemi Dio Maisamari, a Christian community leader and national president of the Adara Development Association. Also killed in the unprovoked attack were Adamu Tata, 40, a father of four children, and Ishaku Peter, a 37-year-old father of five, Maisamari said.

The assailants kidnapped Sani Peter, 25, and his wife Esther Sani Peter, 20, he said.

A fourth Christian, Danladi Abashi, was killed in a herdsmen attack on Aug. 16 in Kallah village, he said.

“Abashi, a 50-year-old old farmer, ventured near the villages that were invaded and are still occupied by Fulani herdsmen in the Kallah/Gefe/Libere area of Kajuru LGA,” Maisamari said. “His body was only recovered with the help of the police, because the herdsmen disallowed Adara people from even approaching the occupied enclave.”

In an Aug. 27 attack in Maraban Kajuru, herdsmen kidnapped Daniel Shuaibu and Abednego Paul from their home and wounded another Christian, he said.

“During the operation, Mr. Sunday Barau was shot and injured, and the abductees are still with their abductors because his helpless family has been unable to meet their demands,” Maisamari said.

Pius Gargai also was kidnapped from his home in Maraban Rido, and on Sept. 2 four people were kidnapped from Rafin Roro village in Kajuru County, he said.

“One of them managed to escape and three are still being held,” Maisamari said. “With the continuation of such hostilities by Fulani herdsmen even when various peace moves are being initiated, it is becoming clearer that the purported dialogue is serving as a diversion to enable the attackers to continue their diabolical activities. We are left wondering whether it is worthwhile engaging in such dialogue and peace talks if this continues.”

Also kidnapped in early September were five people from the Kemara Rimi community of Buda Ward, Kajuru County, he said: Ojo Aminu, 35; Danfulani Makaranta, 37; Namiji Gwamna, 36; Ali Musa, 36; and Grace Mathew, 16.

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.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

Fulani herdsmen have increasingly adopted ideology and methods similar to Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram, and some come from outside Nigeria, This Day’s Akin Osuntokun wrote in an Aug. 14 column for the Nigerian news outlet.

“Today, a new breed of herdsman has emerged: an aggressive and murderous terrorist bearing sophisticated firearms such as AK-47s and even rocket launchers,” Osuntokun wrote. “And they become the mobile avant-garde army of political Islam in Nigeria. Given the country’s porous borders, many of them are recent immigrants from neighboring countries. Herdsmen from Niger, Chad and Mali can walk across the border and immediately lay claim to all the sacrosanct rights appertaining to bona fide Nigerian nationals.”

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.”

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.

Pastor, 16-Year-Old Girl among 11 Christians Killed in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Godwin Jonathan Bakoshi, kidnapped and killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen. (Morning Star News courtesy of family)

(Morning Star News) – A 16-year-old girl, a father of nine children and a church pastor were among 11 Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen this week in southern Kaduna state, sources said.

On Tuesday (Aug. 18) in Zangon Kataf County, herdsmen attacked Unguwan Gankon village, killing a 16-year-old student, Takama Paul, and another Christian, 30-year-old Kefas Malachy Bobai, a father of three children, Luka Binniyat of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) said.

“Armed Fulani militia invaded Unguwan Gankon village in Gora Ward, Zangon Kataf LGA, and killed two persons and burned seven houses,” Binniyat said in a press statement. “Wary neighbors, however, came to the rescue, and the murderers fled.”

On Monday (Aug. 17) in Kajuru County, he said, herdsmen killed a Christian farmer and father of nine, Bulus Joseph, 48. His wife and three of his children were also attacked but survived, he said.

“Bulus Joseph was murdered gruesomely on his farm at Sabon Gida Idon, along the Kaduna-Kachia road, by armed Fulani militia,” Binniyat said. “He stood up to the killers so that his wife and three children could escape, which they did. But he paid the price with his life, as he was sub-humanly butchered by the cold-blooded murderers.”

Four Christians killed in an attack on a vehicle on Sunday, Aug. 16, (not Monday as previously reported) included a pastor with the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), according to SOKAPU.

The Rev. Adalchi Usman, pastor of an ECWA congregation in Unguwan Madaki village in Kajuru County, was shot dead in an ambush on him and three other Christians by Muslim Fulani herdsmen as they were traveling out of the community, Binniyat said.

Also slain were Christians Mariah Na’Allah of Unguwan Madaki village, Shekari of Unguwan Ali, originally from Anchuna village in Zangon Kataf County, and Ezekiel Maikasa of Gadanaji in Kajuru County, he said.

“Pastor Adalchi Usman, 39, and a father of two, was ambushed while in a commercial vehicle he had boarded with three others,” Binniyat said. “The killers came from the bush and just started shooting at the car. The driver of the vehicle, Danlami Dariya, was abducted and at the time of releasing this statement his whereabouts were still unknown.”

Binniyat confirmed a previous report to Morning Star News from a Bugai village area resident of a herdsmen attack on the community on Sunday (Aug. 16).

Armed Fulani militia attacked the village near Banikanwa, Kachia County, killing village head Dan’azumi Musa, 67; his mother, Kande Musa, 97; and his siblings Aniya Musa, 60, and Angelina Irmiya, 45, Binniyat said.

Six others sustained serious injuries, he said: John Dan’azumi, Danbuzu Anita, Blessing Soja, Patricia Anita, Precious Friday and Mercy Yohana.

“Part of the village was burnt after the attackers looted the village,” he said. “This is to further show that the siege on southern Kaduna communities is still ongoing. The genocide is still much on. For southern Kaduna, the past five years that Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has been governor, it has been a grim horror tale of blood, destruction, and hopelessness which we shall never forget.”

Enoch Barde, a resident of Abashiya village in Kaduna state’s Kachia County, told Morning Star News that the corpse of Godwin Jonathan Bakoshi, a village Christian who was kidnapped on July 29, was recovered by Christians on Monday (Aug. 17).

Bakoshi, 23, had gone to a farm with two of his brothers and the 12-year-old son of a local ECWA pastor when armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked them on July 29, Barde said in a text message to Morning Star News. Bakoshi was taken captive and killed, but the other three escaped, he said.

“The two brothers who escaped were able to return to the village the following morning after sleeping in the bush,” Barde said. “The third escapee [12-year-old’s name withheld for security reasons] only returned to the village after wandering in the bush for three days and told us that while he was hidden, he heard the gunshot sound when Godwin Jonathan Bakoshi was killed by the Fulani herdsmen.”

Occupied Villages

Binnayat said that 50,000 Christians have been displaced from 109 villages now occupied by armed Fulani herdsmen in Kachia, Kajuru, Chikun and Kaura counties, all in southern Kaduna state.

“Indigenous rural, Christian communities of southern Kaduna have been sacked by rampaging armed Fulani militia and displaced to various communities and Internally Displaced Persons camps,” he said. “These villages are now under the full occupation of Fulani some for over a year.”

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.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

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.”

In January, Christian Solidarity International 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.

Muslim Fulani Herdsmen Kill 14 Baptist Christians in Kogi State, Nigeria

One of 14 Christians killed in Agbadu-Daruwana, Kogi state, Nigeria on July 29. (All Africa Baptist Fellowship Facebook)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – A Muslim Fulani herdsmen raid on a village in central Nigeria’s Kogi state on Wednesday (July 29) killed 14 Baptist Christians, including 13 members of an extended family, sources said.

Police said the wife, mother, all the children and other relatives of one man – 13 in all – were killed in the 2 a.m. attack on Agbadu-Daruwana. He also lost his younger brother, an aunt and uncle and a sister-in-law, Kogi State Command Commissioner of Police Ede Ayuba said in a statement.

“In that family, it is only one person that survived,” Ayuba said.

Leaders of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship posted on the group’s Facebook page that the victims were members of the Bethel Baptist church in Agbadu-Daruwana, part of the Lokoja Baptist Association of Kogi State Baptist Conference.

“They have since been buried,” the post read. “All the community members, mainly Christians, have all fled. Please pray for God’s intervention against antichrist in the land.”

Area resident Rachael Nuhu told Morning Star News in text messages that the assailants were Fulanis, predominantly Muslim cattle herders who also have attacked surrounding villages.

“They invaded the village armed with guns and riding motorcycles,” Nuhu said. “They were speaking in the Fulani language as they attacked our people. This is not the first time they’re attacking our communities, as other villages around us had been attacked in a similar way by these herdsmen.”

Commissioner Ayuba said that in addition to the 14 persons killed, six were wounded.

Police and government officials are under pressure from the Nigerian government of President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, to refrain from mentioning Fulanis in herdsmen attacks, and Kogi Gov. Yahaya Bello condemned the attack by “heartless criminals” in Kogi/Koto Karfe County.

In a statement by Chief Press Secretary Onogwu Muhammed on Thursday (July 30), Bello vowed to sustain operations against “criminal elements.”

In March 2018 Fulani herdsmen reportedly killed 32 people in Kogi state’s Dekina and Omala counties. Wearing military fatigues and armed with AK-47 assault rifles, they also burned down 20 homes.

The previous month, Bello had reportedly donated 15,000 hectares of land to Fulani herders under a controversial federal government cattle colony policy. He said at that time that Fulani herdsmen would be brought to the land since the state didn’t have an anti-grazing law as neighboring Benue state did.

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.

Pastor, Church Member Die for Proclaiming Christ in Eastern Uganda

Relatives of slain Christians await discovery of bodies at Lake Nakuwa, part of Lake Kyoga in Uganda. (Morning Star News)

Hard-line Muslims beat and drown the two Christians, sources say.

(Morning Star News) – Christians in eastern Uganda had what seemed to be an effective strategy for bringing the gospel to Muslims on the banks of Lake Nakuwa, part of Lake Kyoga.

The Christians from Namuseru village, Gadumire Sub-County in Kaliro District would cross the lake to go fishing and, as they interacted with Muslims near Lugonyola village, become fishers of men, inviting them to evangelistic meetings there.

In time hard-line Muslims began warning the Christians to stop evangelizing in the area, sources said. The last warning came on June 21, a day before radical Muslims from Lugonyola village beat and drowned 25-year-old pastor Peter Kyakulaga and 22-year-old church member Tuule Mumbya in the lake, one of the pastor’s relatives said.

“We have discovered that your mission is not to fish but to hold Christian meetings and then convert Muslims to Christianity,” one of the Muslims told the Christians on June 21, according to the relative. “We are not going to take this mission of yours lightly. This is our last warning to you.”

David Nabyoma, chairperson of the local council from Namuseru village, said Christian friends knocked on his door at 10 p.m. the night of June 22.

“They were requesting help, saying Muslims from Lugonyola had invaded the area around the lakeside, and several Christians were reported to have been injured, including my son,” Nabyoma, a member of the Church of Uganda, told Morning Star News. “Immediately we rushed to the scene of the incident with several Christians. We hired four boats and drove to the lake and found out that two of the Christians had been badly beaten and drowned in the lake and died instantly.”

Pastor Kyakulaga, who led the area Church of Christ congregation, leaves behind his wife and two children, ages 2 and 4. Church member Mumbya is survived by his wife and 2-year-old child.

Christians gathered in Namuseru village early the morning of June 23 to plan retaliation, but local officials spoke to them, called police and cooled tensions, sources said.

Police from Gadumire, Namwiwa and Kaliro stations arrived at the lake area and arrested three suspects. Officers identified them as Sharifu Ngugo, Hassan Mwidu Gulumaire and Jafari Kadisi of Lugonyola village and took them to the Kaliro central police station, a source said.

Police and fishermen searched the lake and found the bodies that day, June 23, he said.

Several government officials, including the district police commander, resident district commissioner and other local leaders condemned the killings, the source said. Church leaders pleaded with Christians to refrain from retaliating and pray.

Hundreds of Christians, including many church leaders from Anglican, Pentecostal, Catholic and other denominations, attended a funeral for the two slain Christians on June 24 in Namuseru village.

The killings were the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

Nine Christians Killed in Gun and Machete Attack in North-central Nigeria

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.

Muslim Fulanis Kill Two Christians, Kidnap Two Others in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Muslim Fulanis destroyed homes in attack on Ungwan Anjo village, Kaduna state. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Armed Muslim Fulanis killed two Christians in Kaduna state, Nigeria on Saturday (May 16), days after two others were kidnapped, sources said.

Christians Isa Dauda and John Zaman were killed in the 8 p.m. attack on the predominantly Christian village of Ungwan Anjo, near Godogodo town in Jema’a County, area resident Aku Joshua Shai told Morning Star News in a text message. He said four churches in the village were closed as all Christians had fled.

“Almost all houses in Ungwan Anjo were burnt down,” Shai said. “Churches affected in Ungwan Anjo include the ECWA [Evangelical Church Winning All], Anglican, ERCC [Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ], and the Redeemed Christian Church of God [RCCG].”

Two days earlier, leaders of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) described attacks in the state as genocidal.

“The ongoing attacks on our communities points to the fact that there is a deliberate ethnic cleansing ripping across southern Kaduna which the authorities have turned a blind eye to,” SOKAPU President Jonathan Asake said at a May 14 press conference in the city of Kaduna.

Asake said that Fulani herdsmen attacked Gonar Rogo, Kajuru County on May 11, the next day set fire to homes in Bakin Kogi, displacing residents, and also struck Idanu village.

“In the early hours of Wednesday (May 13), the murderous gang of terrorists moved to Makyali, where several persons were killed. In Agwala village, an old lady was mercilessly hacked to death,” Asake said. “In total, these attacks have so far claimed 27 lives within 48 hours, while the injured have been taken to various medical facilities for attention. Efele, Ungwan Modi, and Ungwan Rana villages were also attacked, and hundreds of residents displaced.”

Some 15,000 Christians were displaced in the Kajuru attacks, he said, “without any intervention from the authorities.”

The SOKAPU leader said that the herdsmen invaded and occupied the predominantly Christian community of Galiwyi in Chikun County, holding some women captive and making them their sex slaves.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all attacks, invasions and killings are properly documented. SOKAPU has the names of towns and identities of victims of these mindless attacks on our communities, with some of them widely published,” Asake said. “We insist that the recent invasions are a continuation of a deliberate and entrenched agenda of subjugating and occupying our ancestral lands.”

Kidnappings

Fulani Muslims kidnapped two Christians in Kaduna state last week, while in neighboring Plateau state police rescued the abducted 6-year-old daughter of a university lecturer shot and killed by kidnappers, sources said.

Muslim Fulanis in Kaduna state’s Giwa County on May 12 abducted two members of a Catholic church in Zango Tama and then returned on May 14 to attack the village, local resident Nenfort Thomas told Morning Star News in a text message.

Abducted were Amina Yakubu, a former financial secretary of the Women’s Fellowship group of St. Ann’s Catholic Parish in Zango Tama, and Ayuba Sarkin Noma Udoji, a member of the parish, Thomas said.

Thomas said the armed Fulanis then returned to attack the village in the early hours of May 14.

“The armed Muslim bandits attacked us with guns and machetes,” Thomas told Morning Star News. “The attack against us lasted for two hours. The situation is now calmed, but there is much tension as to whether our church members kidnapped two days earlier will be released or killed by the bandits. It’s on this note that we plead to our Christian brethren to earnestly pray for the release of these innocent members of our parish.”

Amid growing lawlessness in Kaduna state, a Baptist pastor who is chairman of the Kaduna chapter of CAN condemned recent killings and kidnappings there.

“Recently, the general frenzy is that despite the continuing attacks on hapless Kajuru communities, those responsible for ensuring the security of lives and property are only but playing lips service to the security challenge,” the Rev John Hayab said in a May 14 press statement. “Apparently, the honesty and commitment towards seeking lasting solutions to wanton destructions of lives are lacking, resorting to the usual propaganda. No responsible government anywhere will act as if nothing was happening when a section of her citizens are killed.”

Christian Lecturer Killed

While it was unknown if he was targeted for his faith, in Plateau state a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Jos was shot dead at about midnight of May 15 by assailants who broke into his home and kidnapped his 6-year-old daughter, according to published reports.

Dr. Kennedy Nendi Drengkat, a member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), was reportedly at his home at the staff quarters of the university. The assailants abducted his young daughter, Joanna Drengkat, and security personnel and vigilantes recovered her and another kidnapped person after a shoot-out with the fleeing kidnappers in hills on the border of Plateau and Bauchi states, police said.

Officers, mobile units, operatives from an anti-kidnapping unit and vigilantes were deployed and sighted the kidnappers on a hill where a shoot-out began, Plateau State Commissioner of Police Edward Egbuka told reporters.

“In the process, one of the kidnappers named Ali Mohammed of Narabi was shot on his right leg and was arrested with one AK-47 rifle,” Egbuka said.

Police recovered 29 rounds of ammunition from Mohammed and rescued the previously kidnapped Chiboze Joseph as the wounded assailants fled, Egbuka said.

“We also extended our search for the last kidnapped victim to the hills around Babale village in Jos North Local Government Area, and upon sighting the combined teams, the hoodlums opened fire on them,” Egbuka said. “The teams overpowered the hoodlums, which led to the rescue of the kidnapped victim, Joanna Drengkat, 6 years old, unhurt. The manhunt for the fleeing suspect continues.”

Young Joanna spoke at a police press conference on Sunday (May 17), saying four assailants came to her house.

“When they shot my father, they asked me to follow them, and one of them was dragging me along, because they were moving very fast, and we ended up in the bush on top of a hill,” she said. “They told me that they would not release me if my people did not give them money. While they were talking, we started hearing gunshots. At that point, the kidnappers abandoned me and ran away, and the police came and rescued me.”

The Rev. Soja Bewarang, a COCIN pastor and chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Plateau State Chapter, commended Plateau police in a press statement.

“The CAN commiserates with the wife, family, and Jos University community on the sad murder of their promising husband, relation and lecturer, Dr. Drengkat, with the prayer that God Almighty will comfort you all,” Pastor Bewarang said. “The CAN leadership commends the gallantry of the police and admonishes them to hold onto and multiply their commitment in fizzling out crimes and apprehending criminals.”

In a broadcast on Sunday (May 17), Plateau Gov. Simon Bako Lalong offered condolences to the family of the slain lecturer and said security forces had arrested a suspected mastermind behind kidnappings in the Eto-Baba, Bauchi Road area.

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.

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