Nigerian Christians Attacked Again; Five Children Gunned Down

Expand | Collapse
(Photo: MidEast Christian News)Cardinal John Onaiyekan has said it has become extremely difficult to convince Christians in Nigeria that "not all Muslims are killing our people, and that there are many Muslims who are sorry" for what is happening to Christians under attack by Islamist group Boko Haram.

Nigerian Christians have once again found themselves the target of the violent Islamist extremists in the country.

Eight gunmen from the militant Muslim Fulani herdsmen group killed six people, including five children, in central Nigeria on Dec. 17.

"I found out that Miracle Ishaya (2 years old) had his intestines spilled on his bed as he was shot in his stomach," Deborah Stephen 28, who lost her 4-year-old son and had her 6-year-old sent to the hospital in critical condition, told Morning Star News. "I was also told by relatives that the Muslim gunmen who attacked our home were eight, and that they wore military camouflage and bullet-proof vests."

The attack also claimed the lives of Bidami Ishaya, 10; Jerry Dalyop, 8; Izine Emeka, 6; and John David, 30.

These attacks came three days after another Fulani Herdsman attack killed two Christians and wounded a third on Dec. 14 in the predominantly Christian town of Gwol.

"I had gone out to a nearby kiosk to our house to buy phone card for my mobile phone when the Muslim gunmen suddenly began shooting us," Chom Philip, 23, who was wounded in the attack, said. "When I was hit by the bullets, I crawled under a parked car, and that was how I survived the attack. The other two Christians, whose names I do not know, were killed instantly."

Another attack, on Dec. 11, left four other Christians dead and Emmanuel Loman, a Christian leader from the same region as the casualties, speechless.

"This is a very sad development," Loman said. "How long will these attacks continue?"

Currently, Nigerian Christians are anxious about possible attacks that could be carried out during the Christmas season. On Nov. 24, officials from Plateau State warned Christians that Muslim extremists had plotted against them.

"Recent security reports available to the government point to the fact that some terrorists want to take the advantage of this Christmas to attack Plateau," Gov. Jonah Jang told Christians in his region. "We must be watchful; we must not go to sleep, because keeping peace is not the job of government alone. We must report suspicious characters in our midst, and that's the only way we can defeat them."

Nigeria's two groups most responsible for the attacks against Christians include the ethnic Fulani herdsmen, some of whom come from outside the country, and Boko Haram, a Nigerian rebel group that wishes to spread Sharia law throughout the country and has ties to Al-Qaeda. It was recently placed on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.