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Soldiers Complicit in Herdsmen Attacks in Nigeria, Christians Say

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Soldiers and security personnel failed to intervene this month as Fulani herdsmen killed 70 Christians in one area of Plateau state, Nigeria, while in other areas soldiers helped herdsmen destroy farmland, Christian leaders said.

Muslim Fulanis killed 70 Christians, displaced 30,000 others and burned 500 homes in attacks on villages in Miango District, Bassa County the first three weeks of August, according to Davidson Malison, spokesman for the predominantly Christian Irigwe ethnic group.

The Rev. Ronku Aka, another leader of the Irigwe community, said the attacks took place in spite of the presence of forces deployed to the area to protect residents.

“While the Fulani herdsmen were attacking my communities, the soldiers and other security agents were around,” Pastor Aka said in a message to Morning Star News. “As the Fulani invaders were carrying out the attacks, we expected them to confront the invaders and stop the destruction going on, but that did not happen.”

When Pastor Aka questioned the soldiers, they told him that they had not received orders to repel the attackers, he said.

“If the security agents were deployed and allowed to do their job, maybe the Fulani attackers would not have succeeded with their evil plans, and my people would not be suffering what they are experiencing at the moment,” he said.

Malison identified some of the predominantly Christian villages attacked in Miango District this month as Zanwra, Kpatenvie (Jebbu-Miango), Nche-Tahu, Rikwe-Rishe, Ri-Dogo, Nchu-Nzhwa, Kpachudu, Kwall and Tafi-Gana.

“Unceasing tears have continued to roll in our eyes as a nation and people even as this note is penned down,” Malison said. “The terror being unleashed by Fulani herdsmen on Irigwe Christians has continued unabated and without any sign of remorse or regret.”

It is estimated that attacks in the past month have also destroyed 1,000 farms.

The Rev. Dachollom Datiri, president of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), appealed to state and federal governments to provide aid for 30,000 people displaced from 39 Irigwe Christian communities in Bassa County who are now in camps for Internally Displaced Persons in Miango and Kwall.

Security, Soldiers Complicit
Among the predominantly Christian Berom people in Plateau state’s Barkin Ladi, Jos South and Riyom counties, among others, more than 50 Christians have been killed this year, including women and children, and 26 others wounded, according to area leader Elisha Datiri.

The herdsmen have destroyed at least 30 hectares of farmlands in the attacks, sometimes with help from the Nigerian army, Datiri said in a statement to Morning Star News.

“Sadly, this carnage, genocide and wanton destruction of properties are being carried out in the very eyes of the security personnel whom the government spends billions of taxpayers’ money on in their operation to protect lives and properties of all Nigerians,” Datiri said. “In many instances, the military collaborates with the Fulanis to carry out these dastardly acts. The military’s direct participation in the destruction of Christians’ farmlands and properties has at many times generated many petitions, press conferences/releases and in some instances physical demonstrations by the Christian communities demanding the removal of the military.”

The killings and destruction have taken place without any compensation by government at any level, he said.

“There are more than 55 hamlets and villages in Christian communities especially, in Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs [Local Government Areas], that are currently under the forceful occupation of the Fulani and in some instances have already been renamed as proof of an unprecedented wave of land grabs,” Datiri said. “There’s a continued onslaught on Christians which is being championed by the Fulanis and aided by the security agencies saddled with the responsibility to protect lives and property.”

Noting that the Fulani herdsmen ranked as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world on the 2018 Global Terrorism Index, Datiri said their attacks are taking place on a near daily basis.

“We wish to note with deep concern the unacceptable plundering of our land under the direct watch of constituted authorities charged with the responsibility of upholding all people’s rights as entrenched in the Nigerian Constitution,” he said.

Herdsmen attacks also took place in June and July, Christian residents said.

Byei village resident Moses Dantong said Fulani militias surrounded his village on July 11 with sophisticated weapons, shooting and seriously wounding his nephew, 38-year-old James Yohanna, in the chest. The previous day, the herdsmen cut down villagers’ crops, he said.

In a June 29 attack on the same village, herdsmen shot dead 21-yearold Patrick Pam, Danton said.

Herdsmen on June 30 attacked the predominantly Christian villages of Tamborong and Gwol-Hoss, in Riyom County, killing two Christians, said community leader John Giwa.

“The two Christian victims, Sunday Dogo and Joshu Usman, were returning from Ganawuri market, and unknown to them the attackers who were armed Fulani herdsman ambushed them,” Giwa told Morning Star News. “Both of them died after being shot. A third victim, Danlami Musa, was with bullet wounds.”

In Gwol-Hoss on June 28, herdsmen killed primary school headmaster Bitrus Manzere, said Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, a lawyer from the area.

“Bitrus Manzere was hacked death by Fulani herdsmen,” Mwantiri said. “Manzere, 63, was returning home at about 9 p.m. He’s survived by his wife and eight children.”

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 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.

In this year’s 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 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.

Photo: Plateau state, Nigeria. (Uwe Dedering, Wikipedia)

Herdsmen Kill Christians in Nigeria’s Nasarawa, Plateau States

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 12 Christians in Nasarawa state and three others in Plateau state the last part of April, sources said.

In north-central Nigeria’s Nasarawa state, herdsmen killed 12 Christian farmers in Ajimaka, Doma County, in attacks there and in 13 other villages from April 24 until April 29, area leader Barnabas Zayol told Morning Star News. The attacks displaced tens of thousands of people, Christian leaders said.

A survivor of the attack on Ajikama village, Terlumun Tsekaa, said the herdsmen arrived at about 2 a.m. on April 24 with guns and machetes and killed his wife, who was seven months pregnant, and 3-year-old child.

“There were more than 30 of these herdsmen who attacked us, and they were shouting ‘Allah akbar [Allah is greater]’ as they shot at us and burned our houses,” Tsekaa told Morning Star News. “They set fire on all houses in the village. They also killed a whole family of five members.”

In Doma County, the herdsmen also attacked Dooshima, Antsa, Dooka, Angwan Yara, Ikyayior, Targema, Tse Tor, Chia, Umurayi, Dooga, Gindan Rail and Ankoma villages; in Keana County, they attacked Ategher, Avewua, Ugbele Aondokaa, Ikper, Gborgyo and Uluwa Kwananke villages, Zayol said.

“They burned down houses and killed indiscriminately anyone they sighted,” Zayol said. “Those killed during the attacks include children and pregnant women.”

Victims were members of Universal Reformed Christian Church (NKST in Nigeria), Roman Catholic, Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC) and Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) churches, he said. He identified those slain as Tsekaa Chiatyo, Kwaghdoo Tsekaa, Sewuese Tsekaa, Bobo Chiatyo, Aondosee Fidelis, Aboy, Igba Aduku, Iwueseter, Aseer, Kasehumba, William Katu and Aondowase Agbu.

Citing nine dead, police confirmed the attacks and said personnel were sent to the area. Ramhan Nansel, spokesman for the Nasarawa State Police Command, said in a statement that officers received report of the attack on Ajimaka at about 6 a.m. on April 24.

“Upon receipt of the information, a joint team of police and military personnel were deployed to the scene, where nine corpses were recovered, each with multiple machete cuts,” Nansel said.

Nasarawa Gov. Abdullahi Sule issued a statement through his chief press secretary, Ibrahim Addra.

“An attack that does not spare women and children bears the trademark of devilish elements who are bent on truncating the relative peace in the state,” he said. “A thorough investigations by security operatives have since commenced in order to expose the criminals and punish them according to the laws of the land. My condolences and prayers are with families of those who lost their lives.

“I urge them and the rest of our citizens to be assured that this administration will do all within its power to ensure justice, peace and security across the state.”

Attack on Funeral in Plateau State

In neighboring Plateau state on April 25, Fulani herdsmen killed one Christian and wounded another in Miango, Bassa County, an area resident said.

“Danlami Musa, 21, was killed, while Friday Musa, 19, his brother, was injured during the attack at about 7 p.m. at the twins hills, Miango,” Patience Moses said. “Please keep praying for God’s intervention on our behalf.”

On the same day in Bokkos County, herdsmen killed Christian community leader Yakubu Dadel in Jwanshak village in an attack on a funeral service at about 8:30 p.m., his son said.

Ayuba Dadel said his father was killed as other villagers scampered into nearby bushes.

“We were holding a funeral service when the Fulani gunmen came shooting sporadically, and everyone scampered for safety,” Dadel said in a text message to Morning Star News. “My father was in his house and only ran out to lock his gate. When they sighted him, they chased after him with serious gunfire. They first injured him on the hand, and when he ran to his bedroom, they followed him, dragged him to the ground from his bed and shot him point blank.”

Also in Bokkos County, Fulani herdsmen attacked Daffo village on April 20, killing Christian resident Iliya Mutong, villagers said.

“Iliya Mutong was cut with machetes until he died at about 8 p.m.,” Kyanan Mizhim said in a text message to Morning Star News. “He was sitting in front of his house when a group of Fulani herdsmen attacked him.”

In Jos South County on April 9, Fulani herdsmen were suspected in the killing of eight Christian miners at Shawalan mining site, near Kuru village. Emmanuel Jang, a Jos South council official, said their bodies were retrieved from the site and a funeral was held for them.

“They were all members of the Church of Christ in Nations,” Jang said in a text message to Morning Star News.

On March 13 in Barkin Ladi County, high school student David James, 18, was killed by Fulani herdsmen in Dorowa Babuje village, his father said. Solomon James, 68, said in a text message to Morning Star News that his son was killed in their home shortly before 8 p.m.

Community leader John Choji confirmed the killing of James.

“Our community has been under siege of armed Fulani herdsmen for a number of years now,” Choji said.

In the Dutse area of Miango on Feb. 1, a band of herdsmen killed twelve Christian farmers as they worked their fields, according to Edward Egbuka, Plateau state commissioner of police.

World Leader in 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 Open Door’s 2021 World Watch List report.

In the 2021 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. 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.

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 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.

Photo: Nasarawa state, Nigeria. (Creative Commons)

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.

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