3 Christians ambushed, killed by suspected herdsmen in Nigeria

Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Fulani herdsmen killed three Christians last week in an area of Benue state, central Nigeria, a local leader said.

Otukpo Local Government Council Chairman Alfred Omakwu said the herdsmen last Saturday killed a Christian in Otukpo County’s Entepka village, after killing two others two days earlier on April 18 in the Entepka District’s Adoka-Icho community.

“The two were ambushed and shot by the herdsmen,” Omakwu told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News.

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Suspected Fulani herdsmen also killed three Christians in attacks on Onipi village on March 19 and on Okakpoga village on March 12, Omakwu said.

The herdsmen raided nine predominantly Christian villages in March and April, including Udabi, all in Entekpa District, he said. Omakwu said Christians displaced by the attacks were camped at St. Charles Primary School, owned by the Roman Catholic Church.

Andrew Mamedu, country director of Action Aid, an international humanitarian organization, said at a press conference in Abuja that the incessant attacks on Christian communities in Benue have displaced about 1.4 million people. He called for urgent government action to curtail such assaults.

“With what is happening in Benue state, people may not have villages to retire to when they grow old,” Mamedu said in an April 20 press statement. “There is also the loss of culture that comes with it. If we fail to act now, I am afraid that by 2030, we would have lost a generation, and it may take up about 50 years to recover from it.”

The toll on the lives and livelihoods of these attacks cannot be overstated, he said.

“Families have been torn apart, homes destroyed and futures shattered,” Mamedu said. “The trauma and suffering endured by those affected are profound and long lasting, underscoring the urgent need for sustainable peace building and conflict resolution efforts.”

Nigeria remained the deadliest place in the world to follow Christ, with 4,118 people killed for their faith from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023, according to Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List (WWL) report. More kidnappings of Christians than in any other country also took place in Nigeria, with 3,300.

Nigeria was also the third highest country in number of attacks on churches and other Christian buildings, such as hospitals, schools, and cemeteries, with 750, according to the report.

In the 2024 WWL of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria was ranked No. 6, as it was in 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 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 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.

This article was originally published by Christian Daily International and Morning Star News

Christian Daily International provides biblical, factual and personal news, stories and perspectives from every region, focusing on religious freedom, holistic mission and other issues relevant for the global Church today.

Morning Star News is the only independent news service focusing exclusively on the persecution of Christians. The nonprofit's mission is to provide complete, reliable, even-handed news in order to empower those in the free world to help persecuted Christians, and to encourage persecuted Christians by informing them that they are not alone in their suffering.

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