ABUJA, Nigeria — Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists on Sunday killed 10 Christians in Plateau state, Nigeria, where 27 others were slain in August, sources said.
The terrorists attacked Kulben village, Mangu County, at about 8:40 p.m., an area resident said.
“Armed Fulani herdsmen alongside terrorists attacked Kulben community, killing 10 Christians, and injured one other Christian villager,” Yitmwadi Raymond told Morning Star News in a text message.
On Aug. 14 in Riyom County, herdsmen and others attacked a community high school in Kwi village, killing two Christian teachers, Rwang Danladi and his wife, Sandra Danladi, of BECO Comprehensive School, and injuring two other Christian staff members, said Jeremiah Nyam, a resident of the area.
“They were in the school teaching their students when armed Fulani herdsmen shot and killed them,” Nyam said in a text message to Morning Star News. “The vice principal of the school was also shot at and injured by the herdsmen.”
Dantoro Gyang, principal of the school, confirmed the attack on the school and the killing of the couple by the herdsmen.
“We, the staff and students, were in the school at about 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 14, when a group of armed herdsmen invaded the school and brought out their guns and started shooting at us,” Gyang told Morning Star News in a text message, identifying the wounded vice principal as Dalyop Ibrahim and saying the other staff member was shot in the abdomen. “The injured are receiving treatment at Jos University Teaching Hospital.”
In Barkin Ladi County, armed herdsmen and terrorists on Aug. 10 invaded two predominantly Christian communities, Banyit and Rahogot, suburbs of Heipang near the Jos airport, where they killed 21 Christians and wounded seven residents, area residents said.
“In the early hours at about 1 a.m., Aug. 10, in Banyit community of Heipang District, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Christians came under attacks from Fulani herdsmen,” Dalyop Ayuba said. “We were sleeping in our homes when armed Fulani herdsmen invaded our communities and shot at us. They killed 21 members of our two communities.”
Rwang Tengwong, spokesman for the local community development association said in a press statement that Tapo village in Heipang District was also attacked on April 28, leaving four Christians dead.
“Fulani herdsmen were responsible for these attacks on Christians in these communities,” he said.
Alabo Alfred, spokesman for the Plateau State Command, described the Aug. 10 attacks in Heipang as gunmen killing 17 people in Tagwam Lawuru village and then proceeding to Layowok village, where they killed three others.
“As a result of the attacks, several other people sustained varying degrees of gunshot injuries,” Alfred said in a press statement.
In Mangu County’s Nchiya village, another predominantly Christian community, herdsmen and other terrorists on Aug. 7 killed four Christians, said area resident Ezekiel Bako.
“The Christians in the village were attacked at about 11 p.m. on Aug. 7 as they were asleep,” Bako said.
The Mwaghavul Development Association (MDA) confirmed the killing of the four Christians “by suspected Fulani invaders.”
“As usual, in commando style, they started shooting sporadically in the air to announce their arrival,” MDA officials said in a press statement.
Residents made distress calls to the security agencies, but they arrived after the assailants had left, they said.
“The military failed to take urgent steps to repel the killer herdsmen until they succeeded in their dastardly act, which has left us to believe that they are not there to protect our unarmed people,” the MDA officials stated. “The security agencies should by now know that we are the victims of terrorism by the Fulani militias. Otherwise, how would they explain the fact that people are attacked in their sleep and [the terrorists] disappear unchallenged? Why are they grazing with their cattle on our crops after cutting it down, an act that takes place on a weekly basis without being arrested?”
Also in Mangu County, a band of herdsmen on Aug. 6 attacked Naje Baya Davwam on his farm in Binper Ruff village, Kombun District, another predominantly Christian community, destroying his crops, while the Christian escaped being killed, area resident John Amos said.
“It’s disturbing that the siege of the Fulani herdsmen against Christian communities in Plateau state continues without abating,” Amos told Morning Star News in a text message.
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 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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