Nigeria (CAM) — The slaughter of Christian men, women, and children by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in north-central Nigeria accelerated in recent weeks to unprecedented levels, with a three-day series of assaults displacing five native missionaries and their families, the leader of a native ministry said.
The local missionaries and their families were among 1,900 families who fled their homes when heavily-armed Fulanis on motorcycles raided the predominantly Christian villages in southern Kaduna state in early August, he said.
“Once again we wish to ask you to urgently pray for our missionaries and staff,” the leader said. “The killing of Christians in southern Kaduna by the Muslim killers is unprecedented. We have lost so much again and again, and our missionaries are being pursued and lost everything.”
The missionaries lost their possessions in the attacks, he said, including five motorcycles, children’s materials and all household belongings.
Northern Kaduna state, which is ruled by sharia (Islamic law), is predominantly Hausa-Fulani Muslim, and southern Kaduna is predominantly Christian farmers of numerous ethnic groups. Elizabeth Kendal reported in the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin that in July alone, more than 120 mostly Christian villagers were shot, hacked or burned to death, often in their beds.
“Many more have been wounded,” she wrote. “Thousands of villagers have been displaced and are now being cared for in church-run camps. Despite the southern regions being under a 24-hour curfew, Fulani militants move freely, murdering, terrorizing and ethnically cleansing at will; nobody is ever arrested! Neither the government nor the security services seem willing or able to provide security.”
Fulani herdsmen armed with guns and machetes the night of July 19 attacked Kukum Daji, in southern Kaduna’s Kaura County, killing 18 and wounding 31, Morning Star News reported. Some of those killed were attending a wedding reception taking place at the time. It was one of several attacks in Kaura County that night.
In predominantly Christian Zikpak town, Jema’a County, 10 people were killed in a Muslim Fulani assault on July 24, including 5-year-old Joel Cephas and pastor Shamah Kuyet Ishaya of the Evangelical Church Winning All, according to Morning Star News.
Herdsmen Kill More than Boko Haram
Marauding Fulani jihadists killed 812 Christians in the first six months of the year, most of them in north-central Nigeria, according to the Nigeria-based International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) – more than twice the number of Christians killed by Islamic extremist terrorist groups such as Boko Haram.
During the same time frame, Boko Haram and its splinter group, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), killed 390 Christians. Thus the total number of Christians killed in Nigeria by jihadist terrorists including Fulani herdsmen the first half of the year was 1,202, according to Intersociety.
“Our detailed statistics gathered across the country concerning the killing of defenseless Christians by the state-backed jihadist Fulani herdsmen in the past six months of 2020 clearly indicated that southern Kaduna topped the list with 202 deaths, involving 143 killed in Adara community and over 56 killed in other Christian communities in the state,” Intersociety reported.
Plateau state had the second-highest number of deaths from Fulani attacks with 158, followed by Benue state with 142 deaths, Kogi and Adamawa with 40 deaths each and Taraba, Niger and Nasarawa with 30 deaths each, according to Intersociety.
“We ask you all to come to our rescue,” the native ministry leader said. “We have continued to have these emergencies, and it seems government is not paying attention toward the plight of our people.”
For the five local missionary families and others displaced by the Muslim Fulani attacks in southern Kaduna state, the ministry needs assistance to resettle and provide them the means to recover from their losses, he said.
“We need motorbikes for these ones that lost them – please help,” he said. “We can start with these ones and move forward; we have so many staff, and many of them have suffered the same fate last year. And in this pandemic period, it will not be easy to render help.”
The urgent need of those displaced by violence comes after the ministry has spent months relocating others in Taraba and other states, including former Muslims who have lost their means of support for having put their faith in Christ, he said.
“Help our people. Help our converts and help our unreached people,” the director said. “This is urgent.”
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Header image courtesy of Christian Aid Mission.