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One Man Slain, Children and Others Kidnapped in North-Central Nigeria

Damage from fire set at Baptist church building in Damba Kasaya village, Kaduna state, Nigeria. (Facebook)

(Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen attacked a predominantly Christian village in north-central Nigeria, killing one resident, burning a church building and kidnapping four children among others on Monday (Aug. 24), sources said.

More than 20 herdsmen rode into Damba Kasaya village, Kaduna state, on motorcycles at about 8 a.m. in an attack in which they kidnapped four students, including a 10-year-old girl, from a school.

“Our church, Aminchi Baptist Church, here in Damba Kasaya, was burned, and Mr. Benjamin Auta, aged 35, was killed during the attack,” village resident Nuhu Aruwa told Morning Star News by text message.

Local news reports said Auta was killed while pursuing the fleeing herdsmen, but Aruwa said they killed him in his house, which is close to the school where the students were kidnapped. The herdsmen abducted seven Christians from the village in Chikun County, he said.

“Among them were four students of Prince Academy and one of their teachers,” Aruwa said. “Two other Christian farmers, a woman and a man, were captured and taken away too by the herdsmen.”

Village resident Emmanuel Zakka said three girls were kidnapped among the students – 10-year-old Favour Danjuma, Miracle Saitu Danjuma, 15, and Happiness Odoji, 16 – along with Ezra Bako, 17. Zakka identified the kidnapped teacher as Christiana Madugu, 29.

In the same county’s Damishi village, herdsmen reportedly abducted six Christians on Saturday (Aug. 22) from a hotel where they had taken refuge after Fulani herdsmen attacked their village. Two of the six kidnapped were women nursing babies.

On Saturday (Aug. 22) in Kakura village, in the Kajuma area also in Chikun County, Muslim Fulani herdsmen reportedly kidnapped an Anglican priest and his 10-year-old son. The Rev. Meshach Luka of the Anglican Diocese of Kaduna and his son were kidnapped from his station at Kakura II Kujama Missionary Archdeaconry.

They were freed on Monday (Aug. 24), according to the Hausa Christians Foundation, without providing details of their release.

The assaults were the latest in an acceleration of herdsmen attacks this year in Kaduna state. More than 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, according to Luka Binnayat Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU).

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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaduna Kidnappings

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

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

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

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

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

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

Nigerian Fulani herdsmen’s attacks continue amidst government inaction

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

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

VOP Note: Earlier this year, concerns were raised that the Fulani could be the greatest threat to Nigerian Christians and the security of Nigeria as a whole. Church leaders say attacks on Christian communities by the herdsmen constitute “a war by Islam to eliminate Christianity” in Nigeria. Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari was elected for his promises to stop the murderous onslaughts by ‘terrorists’ and bring peace back to Nigeria. But a year later, many Nigerians have expressed their disappointment and distrust towards their new president. He’s now being accused of turning a blind eye to the Fulani attacks. Buhari comes from the Katsina State of Daura and is of the Fulani ethnic group.

(World Watch Monitor) In Waku, Benue State, one of the numerous villages in Nigeria’s ‘Middle Belt’ displaced by Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen, on 18 August a small frightened calf was tied to a stake by a group of Christian villagers. The angry mob was waiting for the arrival of its owners, herdsmen who’d destroyed a farm belonging to a Christian, shortly before he could harvest his produce. It was a strategy that could subdue the herdsmen, who have a traditional sentimental attachment to the protection of tender calves: they would come to pick it up. Sure enough, within hours, the herdsmen who owned the calf arrived; and if not for the intervention of some community elders, the angry mob would have attacked the herdsmen. A local war and violent conflict was suspended but not averted.

These kind of incidents are very common, as the Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen’s attacks continue unabated across central, and now into southern, Nigeria. The reasons for the continuity of these attacks are not far-fetched. At the height of the Boko Haram violent conflict in 2011, the Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen took advantage of the ‘conflict environment’ to launch attacks against Christian communities, particularly in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria, with the purpose of conquering the territory.

Shortly before the 2015 general elections, these herdsmen’s attacks increased tremendously, affecting some of the north central states, especially Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau and Kaduna. Over the past five years, official figures* show that thousands of Christians have been killed and at least a million others displaced. The intervention of the Nigerian government has been slow and haphazard.

In mid-August, the Federal Minister for Agriculture reiterated the need to frame a government policy on the establishment of grazing areas for Fulani herdsmen. Joint meetings between government officials and community elders were held in states such as Benue, Taraba, Kaduna and Plateau – followed by the issuance of communiques calling for more consultation. In Plateau State, which is majority Christian, this prompted a call by the Christian Association of Nigeria against the Federal Reserves’ Grazing Bill that 11 states are said to have agreed to.

However, no attempt was made to address key issues. No herdsmen were held accountable for the atrocities already committed; there was no discussion of prosecution for perpetrators, nor of compensation, nor provision of security for victims. Many communities were left displaced and fearful, without any security. At one point, the government blamed not the herdsmen but displaced Boko Haram fighters, both local and foreign, effectively undermining the reality of attacks perpetrated by the herdsmen against indigenous Christian communities.

This lukewarm attitude of the government means that the conflict has been downplayed and neglected. Equally, national State attention has shifted to the resettlement of Boko Haram victims and, as such, Fulani herdsmen continue to attack unprotected communities with impunity:

1-3 Aug: 17 Christians killed in Godogodo village, Jama’a LGA, Kaduna.

21 Aug: Three Christians killed, including Pastor Luka Ubangari of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), in Anguwan Anjo, Godogodo. Said to have been ambushed and shot during a pastoral visit to Golkofa, a local neighbourhood.

8 Sep: Christian farmer Aondoaka Maka killed at Antsongo Akiki in Jatau village, Bornon Kurkur, Bali LGA, Taraba. Herdsmen destroyed Maka’s farm produce and fed it to their cows. With no authority to appeal to, Maka confronted them and was butchered to death.

Away from the Middle Belt, Fulani attacks have spread from the Middle Belt to the south of Nigeria, a much more strongly Christian area:

25 Aug: Over 50 Fulani herdsmen armed with AK-47 and machetes attacked the community of Ndiagu, Attakwu, Akegbe-Ugwu in Nkanu-West LGA of Enugu state. They beheaded a Catholic seminarian, Lazarus Nwafor, slit open the stomach of a pregnant Christian woman, Mrs Ogbodo Nwarum, and injured several other people.

The consistency of these attacks, including lack of security and government attention, has forced many communities and states to find ways of protecting themselves. For instance, states such as Ekiti, Taraba, Plateau and Benue have rejected the policy of the government to impose grazing areas for Fulani herdsmen because, they say, the herdsmen do not run institutions bound by laws and regulations. They are therefore incapable of enforcing any joint community agreements regarding these grazing fields.

Importantly, in cases where herdsmen have been allocated the most fertile land belonging to farmers who depend on that land, it motivates more herdsmen to carry out attacks, giving legitimacy to their demands, and encourages other movements to adopt violence in securing their requests from the government.

In Benue State, an indigenous group called the Movement Against Fulani Occupation (MAFO) was formed a few years ago. MAFO is a non-violent group committed to creating awareness of the atrocities of the Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen in Benue and beyond. Furthermore, it is intended to influence government policy on preventing Fulani herdsmen from occupying land belonging to indigenous communities. Importantly, it also wants to draw the attention of the international community to the atrocities perpetrated by the herdsmen.

Despite these indigenous efforts, the atrocities of the Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen against Christian communities continue in both central and southern Nigeria. Public opinion among the victims suggests that, as the dominance of Islam continues to grow under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, there seems to be a conspiracy to take over Christian territories. At the moment, many local communities are without protection. Their farm produce has been destroyed, and houses and farmland taken over by the Fulani herdsmen. One way or another, victims will be forced to arm and defend themselves. Without concrete government intervention, the conflict can only be delayed; the atrocities won’t stop.

*Benue State Emergency Management Agency 2014 Report on Internally Displaced People, seen by World Watch Monitor.

Atta Barkindo has almost finished a PhD at SOAS, University of London, UK. This article is based on his recent travels through the Middle Belt states of Nigeria, when he met eyewitnesses of the attacks he refers to. He’s also recently published an article on Boko Haram for the African Research Institute’s ‘Counterpoint’.

Last year, WWM published his detailed report on Fulani violence in the Middle Beltand in 2014, at the time of the Chibok girls’ kidnap, his report on Boko Haram violence against women and girls since 1999.

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christian brothers and sisters experiencing brutal persecution.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They have been so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

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

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

Baptist Pastor Loses Hand to Muslim Fulani Herdsman in Nasarawa State, Nigeria

The Rev. Hamza Alkali at Federal Medical Centre, Keffi. (Morning Star News)

The Rev. Hamza Alkali at Federal Medical Centre, Keffi. (Morning Star News)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Two days after a slain pastor in one part of Nasarawa state, Nigeria was buried, a Muslim Fulani herder in another part of the state cut off part of the hand of another pastor working on his farm.

The Rev. Hamza Alkali, 66, had to have the rest of his hand and wrist amputated. He told Morning Star News he managed to tackle the assailant and wrest the knife away from him or he would have been killed in the attack in Sabon Gida village, near Keffi, on July 7, two days after Muslim Fulani herdsmen with machetes killed the Rev. Zakariya Joseph Kurah at his farm near Lafia, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) away.

“If God was not with me, the Fulani man could have succeeded in taking my life,” Pastor Alkali said. “God was with me, because I told the Fulani man that God who created me in His image will not give him power to kill me.”

Affiliated with the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Pastor Alkali said when he first saw the herdsman coming onto his farm he thought he was just passing through. He continued working when the Fulani came up to him without greeting and asked him to hand over his mobile phone.

“Shocked at the Fulani man’s audacity, I wanted to know from him whether he was asking for my mobile phone because he lost his somewhere, or he was ordering me to hand over my mobile phone to him. The Fulani man insisted that I should give him my mobile phone. I then responded by telling him that I left my mobile phone at home.”

The herdsman then told the pastor he would search him.

“I was baffled and wanted to know why he would want to search me,” Pastor Alkali said. “He bluntly told me that if I don’t hand over my mobile phone to him he would kill me. Then I now told him, ‘You have no right or power to kill me. The God that created me and sent me to this place will not allow you to kill me.’ I repeated these words twice to him.”

Pastor Alkali came to Nasarawa state from his native Kaduna state more than 14 years ago. The herdsman’s intent was first to take away his mobile phone to prevent him from getting help once he attacked him, he said.

“Suddenly, the Fulani man pulled out his sword and attacked me. When I saw the sword he was dangling coming towards my face, I tried to protect my face raising my hands up, and within seconds the sword cut off my left hand into two. I saw part of my cut-off hand on the ground bouncing up and down. I then realized that if in the first attempt to kill me the Fulani man cut off my hand, unless I do something to protect myself, this Fulani man would no doubt in his second attempt to kill me cut off my head.”

The pastor rushed at him, wrestled with him and held him, in spite of his severed, bleeding hand. While held on the ground the herdsman was still gripping the sword, and the pastor managed to snatch it from him. The assailant ran away.

“I was there and the blood from my cut-off hand was rushing out,” Pastor Alkali said. “I started shouting and calling on some Christians working on farms close to mine to help rescue me. They came and pursued the Fulani man. But then they could not get him, and so they returned to find ways of taking me to the hospital.”

They took him first to the police station at Sabon Gida, where he pastors a congregation of 80 people, and from there police took him to the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi.

Pastor Alkali said he has never had any conflicts with the assailant, whom he had never met before, or any other Fulani herdsman, so he was surprised that he was attacked for no apparent reason except that he was a Christian pastor.

Throughout years of doing ministry in Sabon Gida he has enjoyed good rapport with both Christians and Muslims, he said. Many Muslims visited him in the hospital, he said.

“Both the Muslim leader in community and chief imam of the mosque in the village also visited me here in this hospital,” he said. “And this is all because of the way and manner I related well with them while working as a pastor there.

A father of four, Pastor Alkali had pastored Sabon Gida Baptist Church between 1992 and 1996 and then retired, but in 2011 members of another congregation (undisclosed for security reasons) asked him to pastor their church.

He said that since Jesus Christ was persecuted, Christians must endure hardship and face any persecution head-on.

Every Christian that is passing through persecution should stand firm, as God will not abandon such a person,” he said. “Our persecutors should know that one day they will stand before God to account for what they done here on earth. So what they should do is to come closer to God. They should repent and leave the evil ways they are following.

The pastor said he and many other Christians in Nigeria are attacked for their faith.

“There are many out there who are victims of such attacks, and they are suffering,” he said. “These armed Fulani men are killing innocent people in Nigeria. The best thing that needs to be done by the Federal Government of Nigeria is that it must act to end these atrocities against Christians. These killers should be stopped.”

VOP Note: Please keep Pastor Alkali and the nation of Nigeria in your prayers.

  • Pray he will be protected from infection and recover quickly.
  • Pray he will overcome future obstacles caused by his injury.
  • Pray the community will continue to gather around his family.
  • Pray that the Fulani herdsman will remember the amazing witness of God’s protection over our brother and come to faith in Jesus.
  • Remember to pray for our brothers and sisters living in Nigeria.
  • Pray for peace and that the Gospel continues to prosper in Nigeria.

Oh God, thank you for your presence in Nigeria. In the Holy name of Jesus, we pray, Amen

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christian brothers and sisters who have suffered brutal persecution.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They are so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

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

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

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

Pastor, More than 70 Christians Killed in Plateau State, Nigeria

Ethnic Fulani Muslim herdsman -Wikipedia

Ethnic Fulani Muslim herdsman -Wikipedia

(Morning Star News) – Gunmen killed a church pastor and more than 70 other Christians in Plateau state in the past month, sources said.

Setting fire to church buildings and houses in attacks that continued this week, Fulani Muslim herdsmen on May 2 killed the Rev. Luka Gwom of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in the town of Foron, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area (LGA).

A member of the slain pastor’s congregation identified only as Paulina was also killed. A Christian community leader in Foron, Ishaku Pam, confirmed the killing of pastor Gwom, whom he said was his pastor, and said Paulina had gotten married in the church two weeks before.

Muslim herdsmen also launched attacks on Monday (May 11) in Plateau state’s Riyom LGA, a source told Morning Star News in a text message.

“The jihadists, in their quest to eliminate Christians in Plateau state and their thirst for blood, have succeeded in killing Christians and burning their houses,” wrote Gyang, whose full name is withheld for his protection, on Monday. “They are right now attacking Rim, Bangai, Gwon, Wereng, Ringya and Sopp.”

Those attacks left seven Christians dead, he said on Thursday (May 14).

In the Barkin Ladi LGA, he said a “mass burial” took place in Foron on May 4 for 27 Christians killed on May 2. Another area source confirmed the deaths.

“I was at the burial of the Christians killed in the Foron attack, and we counted 27 corpses,” he told Morning Star News.

In two other attacks in the area that day, 17 Christians were killed in Vat village, and 13 other Christians were slain in Zakupang, sources said. The victims included women and children.

Gyang said on May 7 that Fulani Muslims attacked Rim, in Riyom LGA.

“I was at Rim yesterday for a burial when a large number well-armed Fulanis came to attack the village,” he said. “This led to the killing of two of our community members on the farm. You’re aware that we in Riyom and Barkin Ladi LGAs have been under siege and invasion. Lives have been lost almost every day, and [there is] no serious action from any quarter by the government. But we are still faithful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The attacks in Riyom and Barkin Ladi appeared to have no connection with Fulani accusations of cattle-rustling by youths from predominantly Christian tribes in Wase LGA, more than 160 miles away, in the past few weeks. A spokesman for the Special Task Force established to check attacks in Plateau State, however, made vague reference to cattle-rustling as the cause of violence in Barkin Ladi, according to Nigerian news reports.

Gyang said on April 30 that two Christians who were returning from a burial were killed in an ambush in Barkin Ladi the previous day, and “four other Christians have just been killed in Kwi, in the Riyom Local Government Area.”

On April 25, he reported a prior attack.

“Fulani Herdsmen have continued with their invasion of Christian communities here,” he said in a text message. “The village of Shonong is under attack. Six Christians have also been killed in Kwi, Torok, and Rim, all in Riyom.”

Five Christians were killed in the attack on Shonong village; one was killed in Torok; two were killed in Kapwen; and two were killed in Rim village, he said.

Christians in Barkin Ladi and Riyom have faced increasing attacks from Muslim militants and Muslim Fulani herdsmen in the past decade.

Emmanuel Loman, chairman of the Barkin Ladi Local Government Council, confirmed the killings in Barkin Ladi. He called on the Nigerian government to take urgent security measures to curtail attacks by the herdsmen.

Muslim herdsmen have long attacked settled Christian farmers in Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Taraba and Adamawa states, but in the past year analysts have begun to see some ties between the assailants and Islamic extremist groups keen to exploit longstanding ethnic, property and religious conflicts.

Church leaders say attacks on Christian communities by the herdsmen constitute a war “by Islam to eliminate Christianity” in Nigeria. Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north.

Ethnic Fulani gunmen shouting the jihadist chant “Allahu Akbar” attacked three villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state in September, burning down a church building and killing at least 10 Christians.

Slain Ministry Leader in Nigeria Mourned as Dedicated Servant to the Poor

Pastor Joshua Adah. (Morning Star News)

Pastor Joshua Adah. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Friday (Jan. 23) killed a father of two in Taraba state whose pastoral ministry had brought education, medicine and clothing to thousands of impoverished people, sources said.

Pastor Joshua Adah was returning to his mission station in Bantaje, a village near Jalingo, from an evangelistic outreach to some villagers when his vehicle broke down after he had gone to some villages for evangelistic outreach, a ministry supporter told Morning Star News. Armed, ethnic Fulani cattlemen had invaded area Christian communities last week.

Joseph Kwaji, a police spokesman for the Taraba State Command, confirmed that Muslim Fulani killed Pastor Adah. Area Christians spoke as if Boko Haram had a hand in the slaughter, as the Islamic extremist group and other terrorists from outside the state have in some cases supported and joined the Muslim herdsmen in their longstanding conflicts with primarily Christian farmers.

“A few kilometer from Jalingo, he had car issues along the Wukari-Jalingo road,” said a supporter of Pastor Adah’s ministry. “He was mercilessly hacked to death by Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram.”

Pastor Adah is survived by his wife and two children, ages 8 and 6. His widow has said that he was “butchered.” He had left the comforts of city life to start a boarding school in a round hut that provided free education to a student population that grew to more than 400 pupils.

“Not too long after he got born again, he left the comfort and ‘luxury’ of city life for a remote village on a hill without light nor potable drinking water, not even a well in sight,” said the ministry supporter, whose name is withheld for security reasons. “He was there with his humble wife and kids to answer the call of God at this time when larger cities meant ‘greener pastures,’ fatter offerings and sizeable tithes to others doing ministry.”

As funding grew, his ministry (name also withheld) went on to build health centers, distribute clothing and provide medicines and supplies to the poor or whoever needed help, she said.

“He continued to preach the gospel and hold campaigns, not in the urban areas but mostly in rural areas,” she said “I don’t know why God allowed Boko Haram to cut his life short; even when it became dangerous, he refused to get out but kept preaching Christ in villages and areas where many will not go.”

Pastor Adah was a university graduate but decided against pursuing a career in his field after he felt called to pastoral ministry, she said.

“He shelved his qualifications and answered the call,” she said. “He took the gospel to those who never heard, even when many preferred the cities. He shared his meager resources with the poor, he clothed them, he showed love to them. His home was theirs. I can’t keep the tears away.”

She said his death has been devastating for her and other members of the mission.

“I’m still hoping to wake up and realize it has all been a bad dream,” she said. “If only I can see and speak to my friend, my big brother just one more time. You were a rare gem. I remember all the times he prayed with me, encouraged me. I feel so shattered. I am crushed.”

She began praying that the Lord, rather than men, would take vengeance.

“Oh God, hear my cry from the depths my heart, from my innermost being,” she said. “Arise ohJehovah Sabaoth [Lord of hosts], mighty in battle, and destroy your enemies lest they say, ‘Where is their God!’ My Father, shake the very foundation of Bantaje, for God’s General Joshua did no wrong. Maker of the heavens and the earth, behold your son’s blood has been unjustly spilled; righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne – then do justice, my Father.”

In a testimony he gave to his congregation and posted on his Facebook timeline two months before he was killed, Pastor Adah said he would remain faithful to Jesus Christ till death. In what appears to be his last message to church members, he said he first trusted in Christ in 2000.

“Fourteen years later, I am still born again,” he wrote. “I thank all those who stood and are still standing by me all these years; we will make it by God’s grace. Do not faint, no matter the challenge. God bless you all. I love you, please pray for me.”

Christians across Nigeria responded to news of his death, with many noting in social media that Boko Haram had killed and displaced thousands of Christians in Nigeria’s northeast. Some of the reactions appeared on the slain pastor’s Facebook page.

“He has fulfilled his ministry, he has finished his course,” wrote Mejida Job. “I love you my brother. I know you are with your Lord Jesus Christ.”

Islamists from violent groups have collaborated with Fulani herdsmen in attacks on Christians in Taraba, Kaduna and other states. On Oct. 19, Armed Muslim extremists stormed two churches in Taraba and killed 31 people as they worshipped. Two pastors, one pastor’s son, and 28 other Christians were slain in the attacks in the villages of Gindin Waya and Sondi, Christian leaders said.

Attacks on Christian communities in Wukari Local Government Area since February 2014 have been carried out by Muslim extremists in military uniforms who were members of Boko Haram, according to Christian leaders. Insurgents from Boko Haram, based in Borno state, have reportedly joined ethnic Fulani herdsmen in attacks on Christians in Taraba and other northeastern states.

Some recent attacks, according to Nigerian press reports, have been carried out by Fulani herdsmen who have become members of Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria. While ethnic Fulanis have had longstanding property disputes with Christian farmers, church leaders say attacks on Christian communities by the herdsmen constitute a war “by Islam to eliminate Christianity” in Nigeria.

Last year well-armed Islamist mercenaries from Niger accompanied ethnic Fulani herdsmen in attacks on eight towns and villages across four local government areas in the southern part of Taraba, Christian leaders told the head of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria. The assailants also destroyed three church buildings.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north.

Morning Star News

VOP note: In the constant flow of ‘bad news’ being shared daily, many find it easy to turn it off as to not subject themselves to ‘depressing stories that bring them down’. They stay ignorant—hearts who inadvertently don’t care. We want to thank you for caring enough to read and learn how the Body of Christ is being persecuted and suffering in the world. Thank you for not turning your back on them and stepping up to help them survive. And most importantly, thank you for keeping them in your prayers.

Please continue to pray strength and endurance for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. 

God bless you.

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