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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.

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.

Christian Mother, Mother-in-Law Shot in North Central Nigeria

Plateau state, Nigeria. (Uwe Dedering, Wikipedia)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Lami David was in her kitchen preparing dinner for her family in north-central Nigeria on Thursday evening (May 7) when two Muslim Fulani herdsmen broke into her home and shot her and her mother-in-law, sources said.

The 32-year-old mother of four had her 2-year-old wrapped on her back in her home in predominantly Christian Nkietohu village, Plateau state, when she heard the first shots in the room where her mother-in-law, 60-year-old Elizabeth (Lisa) Nchu, was resting, according to community leader Josiah Zongo.

Her mother-in-law was shot in the shoulder, and David was then shot in her chest and legs, Zongo said.

“The woman was shot with her baby on her back – the child was not hurt as well as other children were not,” Zongo told Morning Star News. “The woman was found lying in a pool of blood behind the house where she’d tried to run away from the gunmen. She fell down because of the shot. She was also heard saying it was the Fulani herdsmen who came from Rafin Bauna village, a nearby Hausa/Fulani community.”

Her husband, who was in his room with the other three children at the time of the attack, escaped, Zongo said. The family was sheltering in their home at 7:45 p.m. due to a curfew to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“The gunmen also followed the man as he ran for his life but could not get him,” he said.

David was shot three times, and because of the critical nature of her injuries was receiving treatment at Bingham University Teaching Hospital (Jankwano), in Jos; Nchu was being treated at Enos Hospital, Miango, Bassa County, sources said.

The Roman Catholic family belongs to the area’s Church of Immaculate Conception, local resident Patience Moses said. She said David’s other children are ages 12, 8 and 5.

When herdsmen come in small numbers they are increasingly targeting one or two homes, she said.

“The herdsmen usually attack a house they first see as they emerge from surrounding bushes,” Moses told Morning Star News. “If they’re few, they attack one or two houses and then retreat, but if they’re a large group, the herdsmen proceed to attack an entire village.”

The attack in Nkietohu village comes on the heels of similar attacks in Miango and Kwall Districts of Bassa County by Muslim Fulani herdsmen using guerrilla tactics on Christian communities.

In the past three months, armed Fulani herdsmen and bandits have targeted Christian communities in what appears to be “well-planned and calculated efforts geared towards exterminating them,” said Tom Chiahemen, spokesman for advocacy group the Christian Rights Agenda (CRA), in a press statement.

“In the last few years, no fewer than 60 villages and communities have been displaced in Plateau state, taken over and renamed by Fulani herdsmen with such impunity,” Chiahemen said.

‘Genocide’

The Christian communities have been left defenseless as there seems to have been no genuine effort by authorities to protect them, end the killings and return seized lands to them, Chiahemen said.

“The CRA is worried by the seeming silence of Nigeria’s President, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces has not only failed to protect the Christian communities but has remained silent over these killings,” he said. “To date, no Fulani herdsmen have been arrested and prosecuted over the killings, a development that has helped to embolden them.”

Leaders of the CRA are concerned that the assailants have intensified attacks in recent weeks during the lockdown and restriction of movement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Chiahemen said.

The CRA called on the international community, especially the United Nations, European Union, the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, and the International Criminal Court “to take note of the ongoing genocide against Christians in Nigeria.”

Chiahemen said the pattern, mode and intensity of the massacre in Nigeria is reminiscence of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

“The CRA is worried about the failure of the Nigerian government to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of these killings over the years, which has emboldened them the more,” he said. “Consequently, the CRA will liaise with the affected communities to, among other things, institute actions at the International Criminal Court against the Nigerian government for war crimes.”

CRA records show that between 2016 and 2019, there were 358 attacks on Christians resulting in 561 deaths, 210 injuries, 4,720 houses burnt, 2892 farms destroyed and 123 cattle rustled, he said.

From Jan. 1, to April 19, 22 Christian communities were attacked a total of 33 times, resulting in 40 deaths, 15 persons hospitalized with injuries, 1,105 rooms with property burnt, 104 farms destroyed and 67 food storage barns destroyed, according to the CRA.

A human rights attorney’s letter to the governor of Plateau state earlier this month also decried recent attacks.

“Parts of Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Mangu and Bassa Local Government Areas are now ruled by fear rather than by law,” Redzie D. Jugo of law firm Black Palms Consult wrote in the letter, a copy of which was sent to Morning Star News. “Children are caught in crossfires; pregnant women are killed with their unborn babies never knowing the joy of suckling. For these people, their version of peace has a semblance of bloody order and violent decorum.”

Since Jan. 1 in an area of the predominantly Christian, ethnic Irigwe, Jugo wrote, 45 people have been killed and 15 injured, with 1,434 rooms, 104 farms and 67 barns destroyed.

“For some reason the lockdown has been favorable to the attackers,” Jugo wrote. “The dead are not just statistics; Sir, the killings and destruction have to stop, and we need to see leadership in this regard.”

Four Christian men were gunned down on an open stretch of road in the Irigwe Chiefdom on May 3 between Kwall village and Miango, he noted.

“Four enterprising, promising, young Christians, Chohu Gado, 27; Tanta Abba, 27; Friday Musa, 25; and Emmanuel Kure, 22, were gunned down in what many described as a staccato of automatic gunfire,” he wrote.

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.

Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria Kill More than 60 Christians in Five Weeks, Sources say

 

Plateau state, Nigeria. (Uwe Dedering, Wikipedia)

“At a time when the entire human race is sober and seeking God in prayers against COVID-19, killer herdsmen are showing no sense of fear of God nor value for human life.”

(Morning Star News) – Weeks after human rights group Christian Solidarity International warned of impending genocide in Nigeria, Muslim Fulani herdsmen since March 1 have killed more than 60 Christians, including at least 13 Christians last week in Plateau state, sources said.

Following a rash of attacks by herdsmen and Islamic extremist groups in Nigeria the first three months of the year, Fulani herdsmen on Wednesday (April 1) killed seven Christians in Bassa County’s Hukke village, Miango District at about 7 p.m., area resident Patience Moses said.

“Those killed in Hukke village are mostly elderly Christians who were unable to escape as members of the community ran into surrounding bushes during the attack,” Moses told Morning Star News.

Killed were Izinpa Muntu, 72; Madah Imeh, 80; Jummai Geye, 78; Gado Muntu, 67; Mary Alhassan, 70; Gado Nguni, 90; and Rigwe Muntu, 84, according to Moses.

She said the assailants burned 24 houses in the village.

“On the same day and time, Nkiedoro village too was attacked by the herdsmen,” she said. “The Christian villagers escaped unhurt, but 15 houses were burned by the herdsmen.”

The herdsmen also attacked Ancha village on Wednesday (April 1), killing three Christians, and on Tuesday night (March 31) attacked Rosu village in the same area, where another three Christians lost their lives, Moses said. All those slain in the villages were members of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) or Baptist churches, she said.

Herdsmen also wounded three others in Rosu village and destroyed 11 houses, Moses said.

Christian community leader Sunday Abdu confirmed the killing of the three Christians in Ancha village. Abdu, president of the Irigwe Development Association, said in a press statement from Jos that Fulani herdsmen killed them.

“While our people have continued to remain indoors and law-abiding in the wake of the national outcry over the coronavirus, the assailant Fulani herdsmen have continued each day within the last two weeks to visit us with mayhem,” Abdu said. “On Wednesday, April 1, in Ancha, one of our troubled communities was visited once more in an attack that left three people dead and various houses razed. On Thursday, April 2, we woke up to bury seven people burnt to death in Hukke from an overnight attack.”

Ancha had been attacked by Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Sept. 7, 2017, when 27 Christians were killed, he said.

Christian community leaders say more than 500 Christians have been killed in the area in the past five years. Istifanus Gyang, a member of Nigeria’s parliament, the National Assembly, expressed sadness over last week’s attacks.

“It is sad and disturbing that while all nations, Nigeria inclusive, are battling to overcome the plague of coronavirus, killer herdsmen are still in the habit of attacking helpless communities of Plateau North Senatorial District,” Gyang, deputy chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense, said in a statement. “At a time when the entire human race is sober and seeking God in prayers against COVID-19, killer herdsmen are showing no sense of fear of God nor value for human life.”

Genocide

The killings follow March attacks in which herdsmen killed 50 Christians in Plateau, Benu and Kaduna states, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law reported in a statement from Onitsha, Anambra state.

In a statement issued from Zurich, Switzerland on Jan. 30, (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria as it called 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.’”

“The conditions for genocide exist in Nigeria, with Christians, non-violent Muslims, and adherents of tribal religions being particularly vulnerable,” John Eibner, chairman of CSI’s International Management, said in a statement. “The increasingly violent attacks and the failure of the Nigerian government to prevent them and punish the perpetrators are alarming. CSI therefore calls on the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to take swift action to uphold this commitment to genocide prevention in Nigeria.”

At least 1,000 Christians in Nigeria are reported to have been killed by Islamist militias over the past year, with 6,000 murdered since 2015, according to the most conservative estimates from Nigerian Christian sources, Eibner said.

Additionally, he said, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor reported at the end of 2019 that there is “reasonable basis” to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have taken place in Nigeria. The ICC report stated that not only Boko Haram and its Islamist offshoots are under investigation, but also the Nigerian Security Forces (NSF), Eibner said.

According to the ICC, the investigation of NSF includes acts of violence against persons associated with the Shiite “Islamic Movement of Nigeria” and the predominantly-Christian Indigenous People of Biafra.

CSI last year launched its Nigeria Report website with news and a discussion platform about ways to end the sectarian conflicts and tribal rivalries in Nigeria.

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.

Christians Slain, Wounded, Kidnapped in Plateau State, Nigeria

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed two Christians in separate attacks in Plateau state this month, in addition to the 13 Christians from the same denomination killed on Jan. 8, sources said.

Herdsmen invaded Torok village in Riyom County on Jan. 20, killing Reuben Bulus, a 25-year-old member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), according to Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, a human rights activist with the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria.

“Bulus was killed at about 7:10 p.m. on Jan. 20 when herdsmen invaded his village,” Mwantiri told Morning Star News.

In Gako village, near Rim in Riyom County, another COCIN member, Ngam Stephen Dachung, was killed by herdsmen on Jan. 1, Mwantiri said.

“He was shot dead at a point at Gako-Diyan junction where many lives were previously lost to herdsmen ambushes in the area,” he said.

On Jan. 8, 13 COCIN were members slain in Plateau state’s Kulben village, Mangu County, in an attack by about 20 herdsmen that also wounded three others.

In addition, Mwantiri said, herdsmen killed a Christian woman, Mary Machief, and her baby daughter in Plateau state’s Bokkos County on Dec. 16. The herdsmen attacked them in Machief’s father’s home in Kunnet village that night, relatives told Morning Star News.

“It’s still a shock to me, I wish it were a dream,” said one relative.

Another relative said Machief was not killed instantly but died later from wounds.

“We all prayed for God to give her quick healing, but God deemed it fit to take her to eternal home,” he said.

On Dec. 22 in Tanjol near Jol in Riyom County, another COCIN member, Ayuba Lanjo, was wounded in an attack by herdsmen, said Mwantiri, who is also an attorney.

“Ayuba Lanjo was ambushed by some herdsmen; he was shot at and injured,” Mwantiri said.

Women Kidnapped

Near Bukuru in Jos South County, herdsmen on Jan. 21 kidnapped Christie Peter Mwankon in Kwata village.

The 26-year-old COCIN member, daughter of a former Plateau state tourism official, was abducted after the herdsmen shot their way into the village and broke into her sister’s house, sources said.

“Christie Peter was kidnapped at about 2 a.m. in her sister’s house when the herdsmen broke into the house and kidnapped the graduate of Ahmadu Bello University-Zaria,” said area resident Solomon Kogi. “The herdsmen are demanding a ransom of 5 million naira [$US13,735] from her family.”

A spokesman for the Plateau State Police Command, Mathias Tyopev, told reporters that police are making all efforts to rescue her following the attack on the community.

“We are working with the family to secure the release of the girl that was taken away during the attack,” Tyopev reportedly said.

In northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, a student of the University of Maiduguri kidnapped on Jan. 9 along with the later-executed Ropvil Daciya Dalep by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), an offshoot of Boko Haram, remains missing, sources said.

Lillian Daniel Gyang was abducted along the Damaturu-Maiduguri Highway outside Maidiguri at about 5 p.m., along with Dalep and another male Christian student, all three being members of the COCIN, said Emmanuel Zakka of Jos, who is close to her family. Originally from Foron in Barkin  Ladi County in Plateau state, Gyang is 20 years old and a first-year student of zoology at the University of Maiduguri, he said.

Sen. Istifanus Gyang, a parliamentarian representing Plateau state in Nigeria’s National Assembly, appealed to the Nigeria government and the United Nations to quickly intervene and hasten the release and safe return of all Christians kidnapped by terrorists.

Samuel Mwankon, a member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly, representing the Barkin Ladi area, decried the abduction and killings of Plateau state residents.

“In September 2019, two innocent youths from Mangu Local Government Area were brutally murdered in cold blood by Boko Haram,” Mwankon said in a press statement. “I call on all meaningful citizens of Plateau state to be more united and steadfast in prayers. I sympathize and empathize with the families of those murdered and join my faith to pray for the release of those still on Boko Haram captivity.”

Death Toll in Jos, Nigeria Attacks at 218, including Pastor, Wife and Son

Protestors on their way to Plateau state governor’s residence in Jos, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – An Assemblies of God Nigeria pastor, his wife and son were among at least 218 people killed in Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacks on predominantly Christian areas near Jos on June 23-25, a denominational leader said.

Two days after the general superintendent of the AG-Nigeria denomination, the Rev. Chidi Okoroafor, reported the deaths of the Rev. Musa Choji and family members in the Barkin Ladi area near Jos, the federal government on Thursday (June 28) ordered the arrest of a pastor who organized protests of the killings, Christian leaders said.

The Rev. Isa Nenman, a pastor in Jos, was arrested on Thursday after the protests reportedly resulted in property destruction when he led demonstrators to the Government House, the residence of the governor of Plateau state, on Wednesday (June 27). Nenman is northern zone chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Plateau state chapter.

“Following yesterday’s peaceful protest by CAN supported by youth groups, the CAN chairman, Northern Zone, is in police custody, and there is a directive from Abuja to make arrests,” Paul Dekete, one of the facilitators of the protest march, said in a press statement.

The protest saw thousands of Christians dressed in black marching to the Governor’s House to demonstrate against incessant attacks on Christians in the state by armed Fulani herdsmen. Prior to the protests, Christians in Plateau state had observed two days of fasting and prayer on Wednesday and Thursday (June 27-28).

The protestors carried a placard calling for the government to “Declare Fulani herdsmen as terrorist,” and another one that read, “Ransack Fulani settlements.” The protests started peacefully, but after the governor declined to receive them, protestors reportedly tried to storm the premises, threw stones at cars and offices and chased government officials.

Killing of Pastor

The AG-Nigeria’s Okoroafor said the herdsmen in the June 24 attacks burned down the worship auditorium where Pastor Choji served.

“We received with pains in our heart the brutal killing of our pastor, the Rev. Musa Choji, his wife, his son and many other Nigerians including women and children, and also the burning of our church,” Okoroafor said. “The leadership of the Assemblies of God Nigeria calls for serious prayers and asks the government to do her expected responsibility by fishing out perpetrators of this ungodly act.”

CAN national leaders last week reported that 218 Christians died in the June 23-25 attacks.

CAN President Samson Ayokunle said in a press statement that the Christians were killed in 44 villages across the local government areas of Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Bokkos, and Jos South, all in Plateau state.

“As the umbrella organization for all Christians in Nigeria, we are at pains at the tragedy that has befallen our members,” Ayokunle said. “We mourn the death of over 200 Christians slaughtered on the Plateau at the weekend, and we passionately appeal to the [Muhammadu] Buhari-led administration to rise up and put a stop to further killings of innocent people, including defenseless women and children.”

Ayokunle, also president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), said CAN obtained reliable information on the number of dead from June 23 to June 25 from local government areas around Jos.

“Apart from the total number of the deaths, there are still missing persons,” he said. “Many people also sustained various degrees of injuries.”

The Nigerian government should ensure that Christians are protected from further attacks, he said.

“CAN calls on all security agencies to wake up to their constitutional responsibilities of protecting lives and property,” Ayokunle said.

He urged them to be proactive, saying mobilizing troops and policemen after the havoc has been done does not make sense, and that a government that cannot protect its citizens is a failed government.

“CAN is, once again, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to replace all the security chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, because they have overstayed their welcome,” he said. “It is ridiculous and embarrassing that in the last three years, none of these criminals have been apprehended, detained, arraigned and convicted.”

This failure to prosecute is emboldening the herdsmen to kill the innocent with impunity, he said.

“We are approaching a state of anarchy faster than we can imagine,” he said. “Why are we following the footpath of Rwanda daily with these unprecedented killings and mass burials when we are not at war? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

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

Nigeria ranked 14th on Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

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