December 1, 2023 (Morning Star News)
Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists on Thursday (Nov. 30) killed seven Christians in attacks on two villages in Plateau state, Nigeria, sources said.
The assailants attacked Puka and Dinter villages in Mangu County at about 1 a.m., said Yohanna Markus of Puka.
“Fulani herdsmen, together with a group of bandits, attacked two of our villages, Puka and Dinter, where they killed seven of our Christian villagers,” Markus told Morning Star News in a text message. “Aside from those killed, who include five men and a woman, many other Christians were injured and are currently being treated for gunshot wounds and machete cuts.”
After midnight on Wednesday (Nov. 29), a pastor and two other Christians were kidnapped in predominantly Christian Raddi village, Bassa County, a resident said in a text message.
“At about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, bandits attacked Raddi, our village, and kidnapped three Christian victims,” resident Ezekiel Gideon told Morning Star News. “Christians kidnapped by the terrorists are Pastor Bala, 50; Keziya Ayuba, 50; and Sunday Ayuba, 40.”
The three Christians were rescued later that evening in neighboring Bauchi state in a police response to another kidnapping attempt in Toro County, local press reported.
On Nov. 15 in Bokkos County, a Christian was killed in Hilltop, a suburb of Bokkos town, said resident Timothy Joseph.
“At about 7 p.m., Fulani herdsmen attacked the Hilltop area of Bokkos and killed one Christian,” Joseph said in a text message. “One other Christian was injured during the incident.”
In response to Morning Star News inquiries about the attacks of Wednesday and Thursday, Plateau State Police Command spokesman Alfred Alabo said police had received reports about them and had deployed officers and military personnel to the affected areas.
Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith in 2022, with 5,014, according to Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List (WWL) report. It also led the world in Christians abducted (4,726), sexually assaulted or harassed, forcibly married, or physically or mentally abused, and it had the most homes and businesses attacked for faith-based reasons. As in the previous year, Nigeria had the second most church attacks and internally displaced people.
In the 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to sixth place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 7 the previous year.
“Militants from the Fulani, Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and others conduct raids on Christian communities, killing, maiming, raping and kidnapping for ransom or sexual slavery,” the WWL report noted. “This year has also seen this violence spill over into the Christian-majority south of the nation… Nigeria’s government continues to deny this is religious persecution, so violations of Christians’ rights are carried out with impunity.”
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 2020 report.
“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP 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’s 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.
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Originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.
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