An 87-year-old Christian man was reportedly cut to death with a machete and another was shot to death in Nigeria’s Kaduna state by suspected Fulani radicals last week, a local source has claimed.
A resident of the predominantly Christian Agom village told the nonprofit persecution monitoring outlet Morning Star News that a group of herdsmen attacked the area around 4:30 a.m. last Thursday. The result, he said, was the death of 87-year-old Monday Kura and 48-year-old Emmanuel Agom.
According to the resident, identified as Gabriel Yakubu, both Kura and Agam were killed while they were sleeping. They were both said to be members of the local Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ.
“[W]e need your prayers as my village is on fire and we are not getting any protection from the government," Yakubu was quoted as saying.
The alleged attack in Agom follows several attacks this year against predominantly-Christian farming communities in Kaduna and other states across the Middle Belt of Nigeria that were said to have been carried out by radical Fulani herdsmen.
Fulani herders are nomadic or semi-nomadic people who have for decades been involved in conflicts and disputes with farming communities.
But over the last few years, there has been a noticeable rise in deadly overnight attacks on farming communities. Thousands have been killed and countless villages have been razed since the beginning of 2018.
While the Nigerian government and some rights activists claim that the violence is due to a decades-long herder-farmer conflict, advocates for the Christain communities claim that some Fulani extremists have been armed and radicalized to carry out deadly attacks against largely unarmed Christian communities.
Additionally, advocates contend that those responsible for the attacks are not being held accountable by local or federal governments even though the Global Terrorism Index shows that Fulani radicals are one of the most deadly forces of terror in Nigeria.
Although there have been several attacks reported in Kaduna this year, Yakubu told Morning Star News that last Thursday’s attack was the first that his village has endured. The village of Agom is located in the Sanga countryside.
This past March, 10 Christians were reportedly killed and 30 houses were destroyed in another attack that occurred in the Sanga. That time, it was in the village of Nandu Gbok.
In the first quarter of 2019, hundreds of people were killed while many houses and buildings were destroyed by various reported Fulani attacks in Kaduna state. Reports suggest that Fulani violence in Kaduna in early 2019 may have been retaliation for an earlier attack carried out against a Fulani settlement.
The violence got so bad in Kaduna this year that Gov. Nasir El-Rufai imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the troubled Kajuru Local Government Area.
Nigeria ranks as the 12th worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List.
Over the summer, the international human rights NGO Jubilee Campaign issued a report to the International Criminal Court, arguing that violence against Christians in Nigeria has reached the “standard for genocide.”
Released in July, the report states that there is an increasing scale of severity when it comes to Fulani militant attacks. The report documents at least 52 Fulani militant attacks between the start of 2019 and June 12.
“In 2018, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project reported how Fulani militants constituted the deadliest threat to civilians in Nigeria, killing over 1,000 civilians in 2018, surpassing Boko Haram Terrorist Group in casualties,” the report reads.
“Now in 2019 alone, Fulani militants have attacked 20 villages. Their target is Christian-majority villages where they kill civilians, burn their homes, leaving the community fear-stricken and forcing many to abandon their homes.”