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Evangelical pastor, 2 others killed in Nigeria in Fulani attack; 7 abducted

Evangelical pastor, 2 others killed in Nigeria in Fulani attack; 7 abducted

Pallbearers carry the body of Ogochukwu Joseph Ogbah, who was shot and killed by Nigerian soldiers in September 2017 in Afara-Ukwu during Operation Python Dance 2 in Abia State, Nigeria | (PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES & RULE OF LAW

The Rev. Alubara Audu from the Evangelical Church Winning All denomination in Nigeria was murdered along with two others during a raid conducted by suspected Fulani radicals on Sunday morning as deadly violence against Christians in the Kaduna state continues. 

Three were killed and seven were abducted during attacks by armed assailants said to be of Fulani ethnicity on two Adara communities in the southern Kaduna state. 

The London-based human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide notes that the attack began around 2 a.m. local time when a militia swarmed into the Buda community in Buda ward of the Kajuru local government area, a region that has been hit hard in recent years by deadly communal violence perpetrated by suspected radicals from the Fulani herding community. 

The United Nations-accredited nongovernmental organization that works in over 20 countries reports that those killed have been identified as Audu, the 45-year-old father of five; 40-year-old Adamu Tata, a father of four; and 37-year-old Ishaku Peter, a father of five. 

Those who were reportedly abducted from the community during the attack are 25-year-old Sani Peter and 20-year-old Esther Sani Peter.

The assailants also attacked the neighboring Kemara Rimi community in the Buda ward, where they abducted 16-year-old Grace Mathew, 35-year-old Ojo Aminu, 37-year-old Danfulani Makaranta, 36-year-old Namiji Gwamna and  36-year-old Ali Musa. 

“CSW’s heart goes out to those affected by the continuing violence in southern Kaduna,” CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement. “We express our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in the recent attacks, and continue to call for effective action on the part of the Kaduna State and Nigerian Federal governments to secure the immediate, unconditional, and safe release of all those abducted, and to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”

In a statement shared by Nigerian media, Adara Development Association President Awemi Dio Maismari called Sunday’s attack “premeditated and unprovoked.”

Maismari decried the violence that the Adara community has suffered in recent years. In 2019, a representative of the Adara community traveled to Washington, D.C., to testify about the plight the community faces as hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced from their ancestral lands.

The Kaduna state is not alone as thousands of others across Nigeria’s farm-rich Middle Belt states have been displaced or killed in recent years during attacks carried out by suspected herdsman radicals. 

“These callous and barbaric attacks sometimes abate but never really stop in Adara community,” Maismari said, recalling another fatal attack that occurred on Aug. 16 in the Kallah village on the banks of the Kaduna River. 

“This resulted in the death of Mr. Danladi Abashi, a 50-year-old farmer who ventured near the villages that were invaded and are still occupied by Fulani herdsmen in the Kallah/Gefe/Libere area of Kajuru LGA. His body was only recovered with the help of the police because the herdsmen disallowed Adara people from even approaching the occupied enclave.”

Maismari stressed that the trend of people being abducted for ransom has also been troubling as of late. He said four people were kidnapped on Sept. 2 and before that, on Aug. 27, five people were kidnapped in the Kasuwan Magani ward of Kajuru.

“With the continuation of such hostilities by Fulani herdsmen even when various peace moves are being initiated, it is becoming clearer that the purported dialogue is serving as a diversion to enable the attackers to continue their diabolical activities,” the Adara Development Association president said. “We are left wondering whether it is worthwhile engaging in such dialogue and peace talks if this continues.”

CSW’s Thomas said the situation in southern Kaduna “should be of the utmost concern to the international community.”

“We continue to call on the U.N. Human Rights Council to convene a special session with a specific focus on the ongoing violence, and urge U.N. member states to raise these concerns with Nigeria at every opportunity, including during the upcoming Human Rights Council session,” Thomas stressed. 

Nigeria ranks as the 12th worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List. 

Human rights groups and bodies like Jubilee Campaign and Christian Solidarity International have issued warnings stating that the violence suffered by Christians in Nigeria at the hands of radical herdsmen and Islamic extremists is reaching the level of genocide. 

Additionally, the U.K. All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief reported in June that the violence against Christians in Nigeria “can pave the way for genocide.”

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