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Muslim Fulani Kill 11 Christians, Wound Two, in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

School Attack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Country with Most Christians Killed

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

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

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

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

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

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

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

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

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

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

Christian Leaders Killed in Middle Belt of Nigeria

Pastor Jeremiah Ibrahim was buried on Dec. 11 at a funeral service at the ECWA church in Garatu village, Bosso County, Niger state, Nigeria. (Facebook).

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Mayhem continued in Nigeria as suspected Fulani herdsmen burned down the venue of a planned Christian conference in Kaduna state and earlier killed two clergymen in the country’s Middle Belt, sources said.

In Niger state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt northwest of Abuja, suspected Fulani herdsmen kidnapped and killed a Catholic priest on Jan. 15, and an Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) pastor was killed on Dec. 10.

The Rev. John Gbaakan Yaji of the Roman Catholic diocese of Minna served St. Anthony’s Parish in Gulu and was also dean of the Lapai Deanery. Gbaakan and his brother were returning from a trip to Benue state when they were ambushed at Tufa village, along the Lambata-Lapai highway, at about 9 p.m., according to the Rev. John Jatau, a priest at St. Theresa Catholic Parish Madalla.

“The priest was taken by his captors into the bush, where he was tied to a tree and killed,” Jatau told Morning Star News by text message. “His corpse was found by a search party the following day.”

Gbaakan’s brother was kidnapped and his whereabouts were unknown, said Jatau, who had traveled with them to Benue and had left them at Suleja, where they proceeded on their journey while Jatau returned to his parish in Madalla.

The Rev. Mathias Echioda, chairman of the Niger state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), decried rampant kidnappings and killings in the state.

“We see such acts as wickedness motivated by religious motives,” Echioda said by text message. “There’s the urgent need for Nigeria’s government to put an end to these barbaric acts.”

The Rev. John Hayab, CAN vice chairman in Northern Nigeria, said people there live in fear.

“The spirit of violence has taken over the hearts of herdsmen, and Christians have become their targets of attacks,” Hayab told Morning Star News by text message. “Priests and pastors now face tough times as they face gruesome death.”

Also in Niger state, suspected herdsmen killed ECWA pastor Jeremiah Ibrahim on Dec. 10 in Chukuba village, Shiroro County. He was the pastor of the ECWA congregation in Kobwa Kuta.

His brother-in-law, Peter John, said the assailants attacked the ECWA church premises where the pastor’s home was located.

“My sister has become a widow,” and her two children have lost their father, he told Morning Star News by text message. “Oh God, rise on your throne and fight those bandits and hoodlums in Erena and Shiroro and all other places in Nigeria.”

ECWA leaders in Kuta said in a press statement that Pastor Ibrahim was shot in the early hours of Dec. 10. The Rev. Adamu Na’Allah, district secretary of the ECWA, Minna District Church Council, said Pastor Ibrahim and his wife were in Chukuba village to harvest crops from their farm when they were attacked.

“A day before they could start the harvest, the bandits came and attacked the church’s pastorium,” Na’Allah told Morning Star News. “Ibrahim and another pastor who was also in the house at the time of the attack hid in the ceiling of the house. And when they felt everything was quiet, they came down from the ceiling, but unknown to them the bandits were still lurking around the premises. Rev Ibrahim dropped from the ceiling and was immediately shot by the bandits, resulting to his death.”

Five Christian women, including the wife of the deceased pastor, were abducted and released after payment of a ransom, he said.

Pastor Ibrahim was buried on Dec. 11 after a funeral service at the ECWA church in Garatu village, Bosso County, Niger state.

Conference Venue Burned Down

On Wednesday (Jan. 27), suspected herdsmen burned down the building where a Christian conference was to have been held Friday through Sunday in Zonzon, Zangon Kataf County, Kaduna state, sources said.

ECWA pastor Love Zidon said the ECWA Youth Fellowship Conference of Zonzon District Church Council was to be held at the venue that herdsmen destroyed Wednesday evening.

A 48-second video clip sent to Morning Star News purports to show the destruction of the conference site. One of the conference organizers says in the video, “The enemy, Hausa/Fulani, came and burned it down completely; therefore, how can peace be obtainable in Atyap land with all these types of atrocities? Therefore, I call on the government for a quick action.”

At the same time, the Kaduna state government confirmed the arrest of three armed herdsmen suspected of attacking Christian communities in southern Kaduna state. Samuel Aruwan, commissioner of the state’s Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, issued a statement on Jan. 22 saying that two “bandits,” the government’s term for herdsmen, were arrested by personnel of the Nigerian army in Zangon Kataf County.

“The two suspects, Abdulhameed Abubakar Bala and Abubakar Abdulhameed Garba, were arrested following a tip-off in connection with their alleged involvement in a series of attacks on Gora Gan, Damkasuwa, Zonzon and Kwaku in December 2020,” Aruwan said. “The suspects are in the troops’ custody undergoing preliminary investigation.”

He said soldiers arrested a third suspect, Shehu Musa, in connection with an attack on predominantly Christian communities in Zangon Kataf, after security agents trailed him to a hospital where he was receiving treatment.

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.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.

Nigeria – Catholic priest brutally killed

Fr. John Gbakaan, a priest of the diocese of Minna, Nigeria. (Public domain via CNA)

(Agenzia Fides) – Fr. John Gbakaan, parish priest of the Saint Anthony Church in Gulu, in the diocese of Minna, was kidnapped and murdered on January 15 along the road from Lambata to Lapai in the state of Niger. This was confirmed yesterday, Sunday, January 17th, by the parish priest of the parish of St. Teresa in Madala, Fr. John Jatau, who announced that Fr. Gbakaan, together with his brother and another priest, had gone to Makurdi in the state of Benue on January 14th to visit his mother.

On January 15, the priest and his brother were ambushed by armed men on their way back along the road from Lambata to Lapai. The attack took place around 9 p.m. near the village of Tufa. The two brothers were abducted by armed men who turned to the diocese of Minna with a ransom demand on Saturday, January 16. Initially, the kidnappers demanded a sum of thirty million naira, which they later reduced to five million naira.

In the meantime, however, the priest’s lifeless body was found near the site of the kidnapping. Father Gbakaan was allegedly executed with a machete in such a brutal manner that identification was hardly possible. The Toyota Venza that the priest was traveling in was also found in the bush. There is still no news of his brother, who is said to be still in the hands of the kidnappers.

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, at the national level, has asked the Federal Government to put an end to the abduction and killing of religious leaders by bandits in the country. CAN’s Vice Chairman (Northern region), Rev. John Hayab, who made the call in a chat with Vanguard while reacting to the killing of a priest of the Minna Catholic diocese, Fr. John Gbakaan Yaji during the weekend, described the killing of the Catholic priest as ‘shocking and painful’, stating that insecurity in the North had assumed a more alarming dimension.

“We received the news of the kidnapped and killing of our dear Rev Father John with great shock and pains”, said Rev. Hayab. “Today in Northern Nigeria many people are living in fear and many young people are afraid to become pastors because pastors lives are in great danger”. “When bandits or kidnappers realised that their victim is a priest or a pastor it seems a violent spirit do take over their heart to demand more ransom and in some cases go to the extent of killing the victim”, he emphasized on behalf of the Association of Christian Denominations. “We are simply pleading with the Federal Government and all security agencies to do whatever it will take to bring this evil to a stop”.

ISWAP Terrorists Execute Five Christians in Nigeria, Video Shows

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremist terrorists who kidnapped 11 Christians in northeast Nigeria on Christmas Day have executed five of them, according to a video released by the Islamic State’s AMAQ News agency.

The 49-second video, dated Dec. 29, shows five armed members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) lining up behind five men dressed in orange robes who are kneeling with their hands tied behind them. Ordered in the Hausa language to state their names, each of the kneeling men in turn is heard saying their name and adding, “I’m a Christian.”

Morning Star News heard the names spoken as Uka Joseph, Sunday, Wilson, Joshua Maidugu and Garba Yusuf.

Speaking in the Hausa language common throughout northern Nigeria, one of the ISWAP militants then says,

“This is a warning to Christians in all parts of the world and those in Nigeria. We have not forgotten what you did to our brethren in Zangon Kataf town and other parts of Nigeria. Use the heads of these five of your brethren to continue with your ungodly celebrations.”

The five Christians are then shot to death.

The executioner’s citing of Zangon-Kataf appears to refer to ethnic clashes in the area in Kaduna state in 1992 over a proposal to relocate a market away from land granted to the Hausa people, who are primarily Muslim. Clashes broke out between them and the indigenous, predominantly Christian Atyap people, resulting in 60 deaths in February 1992 and 400 more in May 1992, with Hausa youths killing many Christians of various tribes in retaliation.

On Christmas Eve ISWAP terrorists began an attack on Garkida, Adamawa state, that local residents assumed was launched by Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group from which ISWAP broke off in 2016. Government and local sources said the Nigerian army repelled the attack, but as it continued into the wee hours of Christmas Day, the assailants were said to have killed six Christians and kidnapped 11 others.

Screenshot of video released by Islamic State showing execution of Christians in northeast Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

Morning Star News received messages from area residents on Wednesday (Dec. 30) asserting that six Christians were killed in Friday’s (Dec. 25) attack on Garkida, and that the Christians martyred in the video were among the 11 kidnapped.

Moses Abarshi, a Christian leader in northern Nigeria, notified Morning Star News that a Christian had told him that his brother and four other Christians had been executed for their faith.

“Please let us keep the family in our thoughts and prayers in this trying time,” Abarshi said by text message. “May the blood of these martyrs keep speaking for the gospel. May the church not be frightened and discouraged, in Jesus name!”

In the attack on Garkida town, ISWAP burned down homes, looted shops and stores, set fire to a hospital and took food from homes, area Christians said.

On July 22 a video was released showing terrorists believed to be members of ISWAP executing five men, with one militant saying it was warning to “all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 designated Nigeria as a Country 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.

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.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters 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.

Christians Killed in Central and Southwestern Nigeria

Suspected Fulani herdsmen kill pastor in Ekiti state.

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen attacks on predominantly Christian communities in Kaduna state on Saturday night and Sunday morning (Nov. 28-29) killed seven Christians, two days after a pastor was slain in southwestern Nigeria, sources said.

The “Fulani terrorists” in Kaduna state also kidnapped two children and wounded four people in the attacks on Ungwar Bido and Ungwar-Pah, near Jagindi in Jema’a County, area resident Samuel Auta told Morning Star News.

He and a Kaduna state official were unable to obtain the ages of the children, while the official identified only six of those killed: Silas Maman, Malaki Tabat, Geofree Andrew, Anna Ahmadu, Sunday Tagwai and Fidelis Musa, all of Ungwar Bido village. Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna state commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, in a press statement identified the two missing children as Rebecca Andrew and Clement Andrew and the four wounded as Adamu Mangai, Matta Silas, Yaro Musa and Yaro Andrew.

The assailants also burned down four houses, he said.

“The houses of Adamu Mangai, Gideon Nuhu, Andrew Adamu and Alphonsus Michael were razed down by the attackers,” Aruwan said. “The state government condemns these attacks and the loss of lives and has directed security agencies to investigate and arrest all persons involved in the criminal actions.”

Earlier this month, suspected Fulani in Kaduna state’s Zangon Kataf County killed Christian community leader Haruna Kuye and his son, Destiny Kuye, in Gidan Zaki village, according to Luka Binniyat, spokesman of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU).

“Both father and son were sleeping in their home in Gidan Zaki village when they were brutally shot dead” on Nov. 17, he said in a statement to Morning Star News. “The dastardly murder of the district head of Mazaki in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf, and his teenage son stands totally condemned. It was a well-planned murder by evil men who sneaked into the village and headed for his home and unleashed terror. The heartless killers also attacked his wife and daughter, but they survived with injuries.”

Aruwan said in a statement that area soldiers reported Kuye’s wife sustained machete wounds while his daughter was shot in the hand.

“The security report further stated that the attack was carried out by about five men wielding AK-47 rifles and machetes, who also tried to burn the house and a vehicle in the premises,” Aruwan said.

Binniyat also reported killings in Chikun County.

“Pray for the Christians of Katarma village in Chikun Local Government Area,” he said. “Most Christian villages on that axis have been destroyed in the past three days, many killed, and some kidnapped.”

Binniyat said SOKAPU is calling on the Kaduna and federal governments to assist thousands of displaced people in southern Kaduna state.

“Most of them are living under sub-human conditions, especially children, women, the old and infirm,” he said. “In Kallah, Rimau and Geffe, Christian communities all in Kallah ward, Kajuru Local Government Area, thousands of displaced Christians are in dire need of food and medical services.”

Likewise, Christians in Chikun County have fled their homes after Fulani militia unleashed terror on them and occupied their communities, he said. Thousands of displaced Christians have taken refuge in Unguwan Bijeh, Buyaya, Goning Gora, Unguwan Madaki and other areas south of the Kaduna River, he said.

“No citizens deserve to be so neglected and abandoned by its government after it has failed in its cardinal responsibility of securing their lives and property,” Binniyat said.

Pastor Killed

In southwest Nigeria’s Ekiti state, suspected Fulani herdsmen on Thursday or Friday (Nov. 26-27) killed the Rev. Johnson Oladimeji as he traveled home from to Ikere-Ekiti, where he leads a congregation of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, the president of Ekiti Baptist Church Conference said in a statement.

The Rev. Johnson Oladimeji, killed in Ekiti state, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

Pastor Oladimeji’s family members had made a series of phone calls when he did not return from visiting his mother in Osun state on Thursday (Nov. 26), the Rev. Adeyinka Aribasoye said. Pastor Oladimeji’s body was found in his car on Friday (Nov. 27).

“The herdsmen who were hiding in the forest along the highway shot at his vehicle,” Pastor Aribasoye told Morning Star News. “Rev. Oladimeji was hit by bullets that were shot by the herdsmen. A search team made of Baptist church members found out that he had been killed on the highway.”

A funeral wake for the slain pastor was planned for Monday (Nov. 30), with burial scheduled for the next day.

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 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.

Christian Leaders Urge Prayer for Nigeria’s Forgotten Victims

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Their pleas for government help falling on deaf ears, Christian leaders issued calls for prayer this month as Islamic extremist groups continued terrorizing northeast Nigeria.

In the wake of attacks and kidnappings by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram and its offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), leaders of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) called for the release of four members long held captive by Islamic extremists in the country’s northeast.

The Rev. Stephen Baba Panya, president of the ECWA, said church leaders are troubled at the lack of effort by the Nigerian government to free church members years after Islamic extremist groups took them captive. He called for prayer for high school student Leah Sharibu, two aid workers, university student Lillian Gyang and the 112 girls who remain captive of the 276 kidnapped from a high school in Chibok, Borno state in 2014.

“Please join faith with me, and let us pray standing on God’s promises in Matthew 18:18-19 that Boko Haram/ISWAP or any other Islamic terror group shall not determine the fate of God’s beloved daughters Leah Sharibu, Alice Loksha Ngaddah, Grace Lucas, and Lillian Gyang who are ECWA members, and also the remaining Chibok girls,” Pastor Panya said in a statement sent to Morning Star News.

Leah Sharibu, 15 years old when she was kidnapped by Boko Haram on Feb. 19, 2018 from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, in Dapchi, Yobe state, was one of 110 girls taken captive; the 109 Muslim girls were released while Leah remained captive when she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

Ngaddah, mother of two children and an aid worker with UNICEF, was abducted on March 1, 2018 in Rann, Borno state, when ISWAP militants attacked an Internally Displaced Persons camp where she was working. Her aged mother reportedly died of trauma soon after learning about the kidnapping.

Taku, a health worker with Action Against Hunger, was kidnapped by ISWAP militants on July 18, 2019, along the Damasak-Maiduguri highway in Borno state. She also was ministering to displaced people.

Lillian Daniel Gyang, a student at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) in Borno state, was kidnapped on Jan. 9 by ISWAP while returning to school from the Christmas and New Year’s break from her native Plateau state.

ISWAP in 2016 broke off from Boko Haram, which attacked two predominantly Christian communities in Borno state earlier this month. The Boko Haram insurgents, who seek to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, attacked Pulka and Gwoza towns soon after Christians had finished Sunday evening services on Nov. 8, residents said.

“The attacks on Pulka and Gwoza towns started at about 9 p.m. and lasted till around 11p.m.,” area resident Vanessa Muda told Morning Star News by text message. “The Boko Haram terrorists invaded our towns shooting indiscriminately on our people.”

Another area resident, Polycarp John, said the Boko Haram militants were heavily armed.

“They were repelled when personnel of the Nigerian army who were stationed here fought them and forced them to retreat from Gwoza and Pulka towns,” he told Morning Star News by text message. “Our towns have been under constant attacks from Boko Haram since 2014, and at a time, Gwoza town was made the headquarters of the Boko Haram caliphate until the Nigeria army retook the town from them in 2018.”

The attacks came on the heels of an appeal by leaders of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), for prayer for Christians in southern Borno state facing terror from both Boko Haram and ISWAP militants.

“It is harvest time, which is challenging in normal years, but in these past years includes the threat of Boko Haram destroying the crop or attacking people as they harvest,” the leaders wrote in a Nov. 6 email. “Pray for many vulnerable villages in southern Borno state and other areas far from military bases.”

Six Nigerians Convicted

Lela Gilbert, senior fellow for international religious freedom for the Family Research Council, stated in a recent report that in spite of frequent appeals from Nigerian church leaders across the denominational spectrum and international human rights advocates, violence is escalating.

“Many informed observers describe Nigeria’s political leadership as both incompetent and corrupt,” Gilbert noted. “But that’s only part of the problem. Not only are they almost entirely Muslim in their religious affiliation (while the country’s population is roughly half Christian), as previously noted, several governmental leaders – beginning with President Muhammadu Buhari – belong to the Fulani tribe, as do numerous military and police officials. This is seen as one of the major roadblocks to reform, particularly with regard to the Fulani jihadi massacres.”

In the United Arab Emirates, authorities were able to convict six Nigerians resident in the UAE for financing Boko Haram activities in Nigeria, according to press reports.

Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were sentenced to life imprisonment, while Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, Abdurahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa each received 10-year prison sentences, according to Nigerian newspaper the Daily Trust.

An Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal convicted the six Islamists of providing Boko Haram with $782,000.

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.

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.

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