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Young Christian Man Hacked to Death in North-Central Nigeria

National Mosque in Abuja, Nigeria. (Wikipedia)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen in north-central Nigeria hacked a young Catholic man to death with machetes on Wednesday (Oct. 14), one of eight Christians killed this month in Plateau state.

The herdsmen ambushed 25-year-old Justine Patrick and two Christian companions at about 6 p.m. as they were returning from farm work to Chaha village, Jos South County, according to area resident Ruth Pam.

“Patrick’s companions, Daniel Gyang and Sele Dung, escaped being killed by the armed herdsmen,” Pam told Morning Star News in a text message. “Patrick was cut with machetes until he died.”

Chaha is near the town of K-Vom, where a herdsmen attack on Sept. 24 killed five Christians.

On Friday (Oct. 16) in Daffo town, Bokkos County, Fulani herdsmen ambushed Mukan Solomon Dauda, a 54-year-old Christian who is a security guard for Living Faith Church, according to area resident Simon Agam. Dauda escaped with injuries, one of five Christians wounded in herdsmen attacks this month.

“He was on his way to his guard duty at the church when he was attacked, and he’s currently receiving treatment at the Jos University Teaching Hospital,” Agam told Morning Star News.

Fulani herdsmen on Oct. 8 killed a Christian in Kuru-Jenta village. Pam said Davou Musa, choir director of his home church, Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in Tya Vom village, and at the nearby COCIN congregation in Rahwol Chom village, was 30.

“Davou Musa was also a member of the Boys Brigade, a Christian youth organization, which ministers in churches,” Pam said.

The previous day in Vwak village, Riyom County, a Christian woman was wounded by gunshot in a herdsmen attack on her home at 10:30 p.m. as she was sleeping.

“Miss Blessing Davou sustained gunshot wounds and she’s currently receiving medical treatment in a hospital in the city of Jos,” area resident Bitrus Chung told Morning Star News.

Six Others Killed

Suspected herdsmen on Oct. 5 attacked predominantly Christian Wereng village in Riyom County, killing six people, according to area resident Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri.

“Heavily armed men believed to be Fulani herdsmen alongside their cohorts at about 10 p.m. invaded the community, killing six people,” Mwantiri said in a press statement.

He identified the slain as “Chungyang Mwadkon Tengong, Pam Bako Pwol, Davou Kwal, Linus Rapheal, Mrs. Vou Pam, Miss Evelyn Peter and a minor.”

Wounded were Kim Francis, 32; Mary Francis, 65; and Lyop David 35, Mwantiri said.

Genocide

Plateau Gov. Simon Lalong, in a statement issued by his spokesman, called for an end to the bloodshed.

“We will not allow these ugly incidences to return where helpless and innocent people are murdered in cold blood for no reason. These killers must be fished out at whatever cost and brought to justice,” Lalong said. “I urge the people to cooperate with the security agencies by providing useful information that will facilitate the arrest of the attackers.”

Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

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)

Nigeria (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.”

On Jan. 30 (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.

The Ignored Genocide of Christians in Nigeria

 

Nigeria-Christian-child-searches-for-parents-VOICE_OF_THE_PERSECUTED™

Nigerian Christian child searching for his parents displaced after the attack

Gatestone Institute

The mass slaughter of Christians in Nigeria, which some international observers have classified as genocide, is reaching unprecedented levels.

According to an August 4 report, at least 171 Christians were slaughtered by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in the space of roughly three weeks:

And these are only those we know of. In reality, the toll is likely to be far higher. Many thousands are also being displaced by the violence from homes and such livelihoods as they had left after covid lockdown brought economic havoc…. Our news desk has been swamped by such stories for many months, yet this relentless and bloody toll of Christian lives is disturbingly absent from wider mainstream media.

In one of the recent raids, on July 10, Muslim herdsmen massacred 22 Christians — “mostly women and children” — and torched many homes in a farming community. “The Fulani came in and were shooting,” recalled Bilkisu James from her hospital bed. “They killed two of my children [and husband].” They also “hacked another five of Bilkisu’s relatives to death with machetes including a mother and her baby daughter and a mother and her two sons.”

A Muslim neighbor had apparently exposed the Christian family to his invading coreligionists: “Before I was shot,” Bilkisu continued, “I saw the Fulani man who is my neighbour, he even identified me. I surrendered to him on my knees” — to no avail. They shot her in the chest and back and left her for dead, even as she “heard them light the match and set the house on fire.”

The next day, a neighboring village was raided: “ten women, a baby and an elderly man were burnt to death in a house where they had taken refuge. Another seven villagers were injured and four houses burnt out.” On July 19, people attending a wedding celebration were among at least 32 Christians massacred in Fulani attacks.

In a separate “horrific night attack during a torrential rain storm on 23 July, at least seven Christians died… as militants brutally hacked unarmed men and women and children to death with machetes.” The report adds that “This was the second attack on the village within days, with seven murdered in an attack days earlier on 20 July.”

On July 29, Muslim herdsmen murdered another 14 Christians — 13 of whom belonged to one extended family. Only one member of the family remained alive; his wife, all his children, aunt, uncle, brother, and other relatives were slaughtered.

Most recently, armed jihadis stormed the Lion of Judah Church in Azikoro and opened fire on worshippers; four Christians were killed.

Listing more atrocities — there are hundreds through the years — is futile in one article. (For a comprehensive look at Christian suffering in Nigeria and other Muslim nations, see Gatestone’s monthly “Persecution of Christians” reports.)

For now, consider just the month of April, 2020:

  • Between April 1 and 2, machete-wielding Muslim herdsmen murdered at least 13 Christians: “[W]e woke up to bury seven people burnt to death… from an overnight attack,” one source said. Those killed “are mostly elderly Christians who were unable to escape as members of the community ran into surrounding bushes during the attack.”
  • On April 7, the Fulani herdsmen slaughtered a pastor and three members of his congregation, including a 10-year-old boy. The pastor, Matthew Tagwai, who was murdered in his home, is survived by a pregnant wife and two small children.
  • On April 10, the Islamic herdsmen murdered pastor Stephen Akpor, 55. “Two herdsmen came to a branch of our church, Celestial Church… where they shot him as he was praying and counseling five members in the church,” his colleagues said. “The herdsmen shot the pastor several times and then stabbed him to death.” He is survived by his wife and five children.
  • On April 11, Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot a Christian farmer dead.
  • On April 13, Muslim Fulani herdsmen decapitated two Christians, in a manner that required them to be “buried without their heads.”
  • On April 14, Muslim Fulani herdsmen butchered nine Christians, six of whom were children, one a pregnant mother. “They were armed with machetes and AK-47 rifles as they attacked us,” a survivor recalls: “They attacked our village at about 8 p.m., and they were shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ as they shot into our houses.” Thirty-three homes were set ablaze.
  • On April 16, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed Sebastine Stephen, a young Christian student. “The Fulani herdsmen were over 50 carrying sophisticated guns and shooting sporadically. After they killed the young man,” a survivor reported, “they then broke into the house of Mr. Jack Nweke and abducted him with his wife, leaving behind their three children.”
  • On April 19, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed four Christians. “Thirty-eight houses with 86 rooms were also razed down, while about 87 families are affected,” a source said.
  • On April 20, “A Christian farmer, Titus Nyitar, was shot to death, and his head was cut off,” an area resident said. Titus was “working on his farm when he was killed by the herdsmen.” Afterwards they “proceeded to the village to burn down houses and kidnapped three villagers.”
  • On April 22, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 12 Christians; earlier, the report notes, they kidnapped a couple as they were being married inside their church.
  • On April 23, the Fulani “killed two people, kidnapped another and burned down a church building that included the pastor’s home in attacks on predominantly Christian areas in north-central Nigeria.”

Aside from the most scandalous or spectacular incidents—such as the recent rape and slaughter of a Christian student sheltering in a church—the so-called mainstream media does not report on the bulk of the persecution (lest, perhaps, a pattern emerge, and the attacks seem more ideologically driven, as opposed to mere “crimes”).

“It is as if the lives of Christians no longer matter,” said a Nigerian pastor about the wedding attack that claimed 32 lives:

It is very disturbing that these daily onslaughts on Christians … have been going on far too long unattended by the Federal and State governments…. there are no sympathy visits to the remnant victims in the communities… There are no steps taken to alleviate their sufferings by providing relief materials to them since they have been made internally displaced persons in their thousands.

“I strongly believe,” said a survivor of a recent Fulani attack that claimed the life of his sister and four other Christians, “that some of these security personnel who are Muslims are conniving with these armed men to attack our people…. the sad reality is that our people have made representations to the government at both the state and federal levels and nothing has been done.”

“What is the crime of these innocent people against Fulani herdsmen?” another local asked concerning an attack that left a pastor and a 10-year-old child dead.

For how long shall we continue to experience this killing? For how long shall we continue to beg the government and the security agencies to come to the aid of our people?

Such questions are especially relevant in light of recently released statistics: Since 2009, “not less than 32,000 Christians have been butchered to death by the country’s main Jihadists” — with next nothing done about it, a May report found:

Militant Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram … have intensified their anti-Christian violence … with hacking to death in the past four months and half of 2020 of no fewer than 620 defenseless Christians [470 by Fulani herdsmen and 150 by Boko Haram], and wanton burning or destruction of their centers of worship and learning. The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists. Houses burnt or destroyed during the period are in their hundreds; likewise dozens of Christian worship and learning centers.

According to numerous Christian leaders in Nigeria, the reason formerly simple Fulani herdsmen have, since 2015, managed to kill nearly twice as many Christians as the “professional” terrorists of Boko Haram is “because President Buhari is also of the Fulani ethnic group,” to quote Nigerian bishop Matthew Ishaya Audu.

In a January statement, the Christian Association of Nigeria, an umbrella group representing most denominations, further accused “the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari” of “colluding” with the Islamic terrorists “to exterminate Christians in Nigeria.” The Association asked:

Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?

Some Nigerian leaders go beyond Buhari and blame “the evil called Barack Obama” — in the words of Femi Fani-Kayode, Nigeria’s former Minister of Culture and Tourism. On February 12, the former government official wrote the following on his Facebook account:

What Obama, John Kerry and Hilary Clinton did to Nigeria by funding and supporting [current president Muhammadu] Buhari in the 2015 presidential election and helping Boko Haram in 2014/2015 was sheer wickedness and the blood of all those killed by the Buhari administration, his Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram over the last 5 years are on their hands.

Although President Buhari’s fellow Fulanis have claimed the lion’s share of attacks on Christians since his presidency, Boko Haram — the original scourge of Christians in Nigeria — is still active. Earlier this year, for instance, it released a video of a masked Muslim child holding a pistol behind a bound and kneeling Christian hostage, a 22-year-old biology student who was earlier abducted while traveling to his university. After chanting in Arabic and launching into an anti-Christian diatribe, the Muslim child shot the Christian several times in the back of the head.

Weeks earlier, Islamic gunmen abducted Reverend Lawan Andimi, a pastor and district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. After the terrorists demanded an exorbitant ransom for his release — two million euros, which his church and family simply could not raise — they beheaded the married father-of-nine. Earlier, in a January 5 video that his abductors released, Pastor Lawan had said that he hoped to be reunited with his wife and children; however, “[i]f the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God. I want all people close and far, colleagues, to be patient. Don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything.”

The Nigerian government, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah said about the beheading of another 10 Christians earlier this year, is “using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam… The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is that Boko Haram is holding the bomb.”

Lead photo report

Muslim Fulani Herdsmen Kill 11 Christians in Attack in North-Central Nigeria

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Monday (July 20) killed 11 Christians in an attack in Kaduna state, Nigeria, the latest of more than 50 members of Baptist, ECWA and Catholic churches slain since June 12, sources said.

More than 50 armed herdsmen invaded Gora Gan village, in the north-central state’s Zangon Kataf County, on Monday at about 7 p.m., setting dozens of houses on fire, according to the Rev. Isaac Ango Makama, vice chairman of the local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Seven other Christians were injured in the attack and were receiving treatment at General Hospital in Zonkwa, and many others are missing, he said. Corpses of those killed were taken to the morgue of the same hospital.

The attack brought to more than 500 the number of Christians taking refuge at a camp for the displaced, said Ezekiel James, one of the officials manning the camp.

“We currently have 559 displaced Christians at the Zonkwa Town Camp,” James told Morning Star News by text message. “They are Christians who escaped the attack against Gora Gan village and other villages in the past few days. These internally displaced Christians are in dire need of food items, drugs, and facilities to treat those who are traumatized.”

Sunday

The attack brings to more than 50 the number of Christians killed in Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacks in southern Kaduna state since June 12, when the Rev. Bulus Bayi of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) was shot dead.

The herdsmen on Sunday (July 19) attacked predominantly Christian Kukum Daji, in Kaura County, killing 18 Christians and wounding 31 others, according to Christian community leader Yashen Sunday Titus. A wedding reception was taking place at the time, he said.

“The herdsmen stormed our village at 10:35 p.m.; they were heavily armed and began shooting at our people,” Titus told Morning Star News. “Some of our villagers are still missing.”

The injured were receiving treatment at a Christian hospital in Kafanchan and at Barrau Dikko Teaching Hospital in the city of Kaduna, he said.

Friday

In Kajuru County, Fulani herdsmen on Friday (July 17) attacked Doka Avong village, killing five Christians, including 3-year-old Faith Shagari and Dorcas Shagari, 6. Also slain were Gloria Shagari, 25; Hussaini Daudu, 40; and Ayuba Bulus, 40, sources said.

On the same day in Katchia County, herdsmen attacked Mai-Ido village, killing four Christians and kidnapping 10 others, resident Chris Maiyaki told Morning Star News by text message.

July 9-12

Attacking the southern Kaduna villages of Chibuak and Kigudu on July 9-10, the herdsmen killed 20 Christians, said the Rev. Aaron Tanko, an area Roman Catholic priest.

“Many others are missing, and we presume that they might have been kidnapped,” Tanko said.

Nine Christians were killed in Chibuak on July 9, and 11 were killed in a night raid on Kigudu village on July 10, he said.

“Some people are still missing, so I cannot conclusively say this is the casualty figure,” Tanko said. “Some of those killed are my parishioners, and other Christians of other church denominations. Christians here are at the mercy of Fulani herdsman, as these herdsmen are always well-armed, and they invade our communities and kill Christians at will.”

On July 12 herdsmen killed two other Christians in Anguwan Audu, sources said. The Rev. Gambo Waziri of the ECWA said recent attacks on 20 predominantly Christian communities have displaced 1,200 people.

July 2-5

Herdsmen attacked the villages of Doka, Afogo, Kallah, Gefe and Libere, all bordering the Ladugga grazing reserve, July 2-5, area Christian leader Awemi Dio Maisamari said in a press statement.

“Our communities are still bedeviled with attacks, kidnappings and occupation of displaced communities,” Maisamari said. “Our farmers are still routinely attacked and sometimes killed when they go to their farms. In the latest incidents on July 2 and 5, two women at Doka were seriously wounded, and one man named Yohanna Mutane was killed at Maraban Kajuru respectively.”

Amid numerous kidnapping in May and June, one person was killed and more than 15 held for ransom, he said.

“With happenings like these, our community is yet to know peace,” Maisamari said.

June 12

Herdsmen shot ECWA pastor Bulus Bayi to death while he worked on his farm in Sabon Gari Gusawa village, Kauru County, on June 12, sources said. Pastors in northern Nigeria frequently augment their modest salaries as farmer in order to sustain their families.

Luka Binniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), said Kaduna Gov. Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has shown no concern about the killings.

“Of the scores of gruesome attacks, the governor has never made any sympathy visit to the communities, let alone take steps to alleviate their suffering by providing relief materials to the displaced,” Binniyat said in a press statement. “Many of these threatened communities have consequently relocated to surrounding communities, thereby creating a very serious humanitarian situation.”

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.

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.

Four Christians Killed, Head of High School and Family Shot in North-Central Nigeria

Emmanuel Kure at Enos Hospital, Miango, after Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot and killed him in Plateau state, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot and wounded a Christian leader and his family in one part of Plateau state on Tuesday (May 5), two days after herdsmen killed four Christians in another part of the state, sources said.

Herdsmen shot the Rev. Bayo Famonure, head of Christian high school Messiah College, at his home on the school premises in Gana Ropp village, Barkin Ladi County on Tuesday night, Pastor Famonure said by text message from his bed at General Hospital in the town of Barkin Ladi.

“Yes, I was shot in the head, but the bullet didn’t enter. It’s a miracle,” Pastor Famonure told Morning Star News, saying he was also grateful that bullets in his lower extremities missed bones.

The herdsmen shot his wife in the back and his two children in the feet, but all were in stable condition, he said. His wife, Na’omi, was initially in critical condition and was transferred to Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), where she underwent surgery on her back on Wednesday (May 6), sources said.

“I just praise God,” Pastor Famonure said, adding that even though his wife and two children were shot, “we’re all chatting.”

Eight armed herdsmen invaded the school, closed due to the novel coronavirus, while the pastor and his family were sleeping, said the Rev. Danjuma Byang, secretary of the Plateau chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

“Sister Na’omi is stable, X-ray and scan show no internal injury and no embedded bullets,” Pastor Byang told Morning Star News by text message. “We thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness. Let’s also pray for our govt and security agencies for sincerity on their part. In obedience to govt directives people stay in their homes, and some marauding herdsmen follow them home and mow them down; and nothing happens afterwards.”

The Christian school was also attacked on Feb. 24, 2014, forcing the temporary closure of several Christian ministries in the area. The training base of Calvary Ministries (CAPRO) and the headquarters of Agape Missions are based in Gana Ropp.

Christians Killed

Near Miango County’s Kwall village, herdsmen ambushed and killed four Christians on Sunday (May 3), sources said.

They were ambushed as they shared a motorcycle from Kwall village to Miango town at about 9:30 p.m., said area resident Moses Gata. He identified them as Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) members Friday Musa, 26; Chohu Nyangu, 25; Anta Yakubu, 26; and Baptist Church member Emmanuel Kure, 24.

“They met their untimely death in Adu village when they were ambushed and shot by Fulani gunmen,” Gata told Morning Star News. “Three of them, Emmanuel Kure, Chohu Nyangu and Friday Musa, were all killed on the spot with a spray of bullets, while Anta Yakubu sustained some serious bullet injuries and later died at Enos Hospital Miango.”

All four were buried by military and police personnel at a cemetery in Kwall village along the Miango-Vom road, he said.

“Soldiers and police were all at the scene of the attack, and a police vehicle was used to convey the corpses to the burial ground at Miango-Vom road,” Gata said.

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.

Nigeria: Herdsmen Ambush Christian Couple with Machetes in Plateau State

Yusuf Pam sustained cuts from machete attack by Muslim Fulani herdsmen on April 26, 2020 in Plateau state, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked a Christian couple in Plateau state, Nigeria with machetes on Sunday (April 26), leaving the husband with serious injuries, sources said.

Yusuf Pam, 40, was recovering from deep cuts to his head at Nerat Hospital, Barkin Ladi, in Barkin Ladi County. He and his wife, Jumai Yusuf, were riding a motorcycle from Kuru to Kwi when the herdsmen ambushed them near Heipang after a rainfall at about 7 p.m., he told Morning Star News contact Dung Tabari, a resident of the area.

“When the herdsmen stopped us, they had with them sticks, cutlasses, and rifles,” Pam told Tabari from his hospital bed. “We pleaded with them to allow us pass, but they wouldn’t, as four among them mercilessly descended on us. They attacked us by cutting us with machetes. They cut me on my head several times, and these left me with deep cuts as I was bleeding.”

A member along with his wife of a Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) congregation in Rachos village, in the Kwi area of Riyom County, Pam said the Fulani herdsmen were many.

“The herdsmen ganged up on me and started an intense beating using sticks and cutlasses,” Pam said.

Miraculously, his wife was able to escape with minor cuts and hands swollen from blows with sticks, he said. Jumai Yusuf said no one answered her cries for help.

“They continued beating us and surrounded my husband, who cried out for help but to no avail,” she said. ‘I thought my husband was already dead. I escaped from the scene and ran towards our village and called out for rescue.”

Her cries for help as she approached her community brought members rushing to the scene, where they found her husband in a pool of blood, she said.

“He was already at a point between life and death,” she said.

Villagers brought them to the hospital where they were treated.

Pam said his medical bills are especially burdensome as he has been living in a camp for displaced persons since a Fulani attack five years ago.

“I’m appealing for intervention, as I cannot pay the hospital bills, as all this while we have been living in an Internally Displaced Persons Camp since the attack on our community by the herdsmen in 2015,” Pam said.

Most of the residents of Rachos village have been living in displaced persons camps since the herdsmen attacked in 2015, sources told Morning Star News.

Showing Love

Area resident Tabari said the herdsmen are attacking Christian communities without restraint by authorities.

“We are deeply concerned and worried over the continued armed invasions by Fulani herders, who are perpetrating these attacks basically not only to reduce our numerical strength, but also to advance their uncivil course of land-grabbing,” Tabari said.

Area Christians are a peace-loving people who not only preach peace but also have learned to live peacefully with the Fulani herdsmen, he said.

“But it’s now a sad reality that while we show the herdsmen love by accommodating them, they are instead interested in forcefully driving us out our lands,” Tabari said. “In spite of these pressures on us, we will continue to show them love as taught us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We will remain resolute as Christians, and nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ.”

Joshua Dung Kwon, community leader of Kwi, told Morning Star News in a text message that Fulani herdsmen have attacked Christians over the years without provocation.

“This Sunday’s incident where this couple were victims is to instill fear into us so that we will not be able to farm in this farming season,” Kwon said. “This will invariably cause economic hardship as ours are agrarian communities.”

Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, national coordinator of the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria (ECCVN), called on authorities to end the herdsmen attacks.

“We are pleading with the Plateau state government and other constituted authorities to as a matter of urgency swing into action so as to get the actors arrested and prosecute them,” Mwantiri said. “We call on the Nigerian government to stem the recurrence of the unwarranted activities of the marauders who appear to have resumed their unprovoked hostilities on unsuspecting Christians in Plateau state.”

Detained for Speaking Out

Nigerian soldiers tasked with protecting against such attacks detained and mistreated a Christian for complaining about lack of security in Plateau state, the detainee said.

Moses Gata, a resident in an area of predominantly ethnic Irigwe encompassing Miango and Kwall districts in Bassa County, said military personnel from the Special Task Force (STF) on April 10 took him from his home to their base and manhandled him, putting him under tap water and ordering him to roll on the wet floor as they insulted him and his tribe.

Gata had complained to soldiers when he and relatives on April 8 visited the aftermath of a herdsmen attack the previous night on a farm in Ngeli village, Kwall District of Bassa County, that killed a pastor, two other men and a child, he said.

Gata said he was saddened to find the Division Police Officer (DPO) of Bassa County and an army officer trying to justify to villagers their inability to protect them.

“I told them that security personnel are to blame for these incessant attacks on our people by the herdsmen,” Gata told Morning Star News. “The Divisional Police Officer admitted that my observation was right, but that the reason our plight has not attracted the attention of the government is because we don’t have people in government to speak on our behalf.”

Gata told them the attacks came about because of the withdrawal of soldiers from the area two days prior, and that furthermore the government had failed to establish programs to bring aid, rehabilitation and resettlement to cushion the effects of the attacks, he said. Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps are lacking in many areas, he added, leaving people without food or shelter.

After Gata cited the inability of the government and security agencies to protect Christians, the army captain threatened to find his house and arrest him, he said. Two days later, the afternoon of April 10, more than a dozen soldiers stormed into his village and “arrested me, bundled me, threw me into their vehicle and returned to their base,” he said.

“At their base at MODACS Guest Inn, they put me under a running tap and asked me to roll on the wet floor,” Gata told Morning Star News. “I was manhandled and treated like a common criminal. They called me all sorts of names and insulted my people.”

The army captain told him that after this experience, he would respect soldiers, Gata said. He added that the soldiers accused him of inciting people against them and the government.

“I was held captive by the soldiers for more than one and half hours,” he said. “I was all wet and was forced to sit under the cold weather for more than an hour and a half, and that inflicted me with a serious fever at night that I had to receive treatment for.”

Friends who followed the soldiers to see where they were taking him were also arrested and beaten, he said.

“They were slapped, kicked and ill-treated by the soldiers outside the compound of their base,” Gata said. “It took the intervention of a legislator for me to be released by soldiers at 5:56 p.m.”

No Protection, No Aid

Gata said he has spoken out on behalf of Christian communities because attacks have forced them into inhumane and catastrophic conditions, on top of the horrific loss of life.

“There’s been incessant killings, rampaging, ransacking and dislodging of Irigwe communities by Fulani herdsmen,” he said. “The recent killings of alarming magnitude resumed when Operation Safe Heaven, the security task force in charge of security surveillance on the Plateau, withdrew soldiers in most of the villages in the land on March 23-24.”

A day after the withdrawal, herdsmen attacked Kperie and Ngbrazongo villages, killing six people, he said. Herdsmen attacks on Ncha village on March 31 killed five people, burned several homes and left half the residents homeless, he said. On April 5, herdsmen killed 10 Christians at Hukke and Nkiedongwro villages, burning down several houses, destroying farmland and looting valuables, he said.

A leading member of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in the Miango area, former National Assembly Member Lumumba Dah Adeh, said in a press statement in April that herdsmen killed at least 40 people in the Irigwe chiefdom of Bassa County during the first three months of the year.

The people in the predominantly Christian areas were killed in 19 attacks on 15 communities, Adeh said.

“The recent killings and destruction of property is a continuation of the spate of attacks on the peace-loving people of Irigwe chiefdom which started over the years, as some of the villages affected by the recent attacks like Rikwe Chongu, Ancha and Nkiedonwro have been attacked repeatedly,” Adeh said. “Apart from those that lost their lives and those wounded, the communities are still reeling in pains over the loss of valuable property which include 15 farms, 330 houses and other items valued at millions of naira like cars, food barns, water pumps, motor bikes, etc..”

Federal agencies like the National Emergency Management Agency charged with helping people in such circumstances have been absent, he said.

“While these killings have continued, the good people of Irigwe are constantly reminded that they are on their own and have no shoulders to lean on, because even as the attacks persisted, there has been no strong committed response or action from either the local, state or federal government to reassure and give the people a sense of belonging as citizens of Nigeria,” Adeh said. “The people cannot reconcile why at the height of these attacks and the consequent dispersal of the villagers, no intervention or support has been extended to them as done to other communities who had found themselves in similar situations.”

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.

Couple Abducted from Wedding in Attacks in Northwest Nigeria that Kill 12 Christians

ECWA church elder Emmanuel Iliya Agiya, here with his wife, was kidnapped on April 22, 2020, in Kaduna state, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen in northwest Nigeria killed 12 Christians and kidnapped a couple from their church wedding ceremony in attacks this month, sources said.

In Tegina Kabata village in Niger state’s Shiroro County, herdsmen attacked a church site where a wedding was taking place on April 12, abducting the couple and some church members, area resident Danjuma Iliya told Morning Star News.

“As the pastor was officiating during the wedding solemnization, the herdsmen stormed the church and took away everyone who was unable to escape from the church building, including the bride and groom,” Iliya said. “In that village, five Christians were killed in the series of attacks carried out by the herdsmen.”

Two other Christians were killed by herdsmen in Niger state’s Gidigori village, Kusherki District, in Rafi County, on April 20, area resident James Ayuba said. They were two of seven Christians killed in three herdsmen attacks over five days in Rafi County, he said.

Others were injured in herdsmen attacks in the county’s Madaka and Sabon Gari villages on April 20-21, he said.

Church Elder Abducted

Also in Niger state, five missionaries kidnapped on March 2 were released on April 22, sources said. In a short statement on April 22 that gave no details, leaders of Calvary Ministries (CAPRO) expressed joy that their missionaries had just been released

“Please rejoice with us as the remaining five of our missionaries kidnapped in Kamuku Field, Niger state 52 days ago are now safely back to freedom,” the statement read.

The missionaries were abducted when armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen on March 2 raided a school in Maruba, Shiroro County, run by CAPRO.

The announcement came the same day that a church elder in north-central Nigeria’s Kaduna state had been kidnapped. Armed Fulani herdsmen abducted Emmanuel Iliya Agiya, elder and treasurer of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Atang village, Jema’a County on April 22, area resident Aku Joshua Shai told Morning Star News by phone.

After shooting into the air to send villagers scampering into the bushes, the herdsmen broke into Iliya’s house that night and took him away at gunpoint, he said.

“The armed herdsmen first tried to forcefully gain entry into the house of the brother of the victim but were unsuccessful,” Shai said. “They then proceeded to the next house, the victim’s house, dragged him out, and then took him away at gunpoint.”

Iliya is son of community leader Chief Iliya Agiya, Shai added.

Christian Killed

Also in Kaduna state’s Jema’a County, armed Fulani herdsmen on April 14 attacked Zakkan village, killing one Christian and wounding two others, Shai said.

Abel Danjuma, 40, was killed, and his two brothers, 45-year-old Henry Tuta, 50-year-old Chairman Tuta were injured. Henry Tuta was treated and discharged from Kafanchan General Hospital, while Chairman Tuta’s serious injuries required that he be transferred to Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Shai said.

“The three victims are members of the Catholic Church at Zakkan village,” he said. “The herdsmen, too, blocked the Abuja-Jos route at Zakkan village and kidnapped two young girls who were traveling from Abuja to Taraba state. The girls were later rescued and set free by Christians from Zakkan village who went in pursuit of the herdsmen and rescued the girls.”

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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