Suspected Fulani raid Christian school in Nigeria; 4 believers killed in another attack

Messiah College high school in the Gana Ropp village of the Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau state Nigeria
Messiah College high school in the Gana Ropp village of the Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau state Nigeria | Stefanos Foundation

Suspected Fulani radicals in Nigeria reportedly attacked a Christian school in the Plateau state earlier this month, wounding the headmaster and his three family members two days after radicals killed four Christians in another attack.

Despite Nigeria being on lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus, attacks carried about by suspected predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen against farming families across several states in the country’s Middle Belt are continuing with great frequency.  

According to reports, a group of about eight Fulani radicals attacked Messiah College high school in the Gana Ropp village of Barkin Ladi local government area last Tuesday night.

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Although the school is currently closed due to COVID-19, the attackers stormed the on-campus home of the school’s leader, Rev. Bayo James Famonure, who is also the founder of the international missions group Calvary Ministries. 

The Stefanos Foundation, a nonprofit that works with persecuted Christians in Nigeria, reports that when the attackers stormed the home, they demanded money. However, the family reportedly did not have any money to give. 

Famonure was shot in the head, while his wife was shot in the back and his two children were shot in the feet. 

“Yes, I was shot in the head, but the bullet didn’t enter. It’s a miracle,” Famonure told Morning Star News.

He explained that his family members are all in stable condition even though his wife had to be transferred to Jos University Teaching Hospital for surgery on Wednesday. 

Stefanos Foundation Program Director Mark Lipdo met the family at the hospital last week.

“The Famonures however survived the various gunshots, a miraculous incident that shows the power of God over deep hatred of men,” a Facebook statement from the foundation reads. 

According to the nonprofit, Bayo Famonure is expected to undergo surgery on his leg. Meanwhile, his wife, Naomi, is “fast recovering from her wounds.”

“She joyfully told Stefanos Foundation that she was able to walk a few steps around the hospital today,” it said.

Lipdo told World Magazine that the bullet in Naomi Famonure’s back narrowly missed her spine. 

Two days earlier on May 3 in the Plateau area of Miango, suspected herdsmen reportedly killed four Christians in an attack. 

An area resident identified the victims in an interview with the nonprofit persecution news outlet Morning Star News.

Three victims were identified as members of the Evangelical Church Winning All denomination — 26-year-old Friday Musa, 25-year-old Chohu Nyangu and 26-year-old Anta Yakubu.

One victim — 24-year-old Emmanuel Kure — is said to be a member of a Baptist church. 

According to the resident, the victims were ambushed while riding on their motorcycles. 

“They met their untimely death in Adu village when they were ambushed and shot by Fulani gunmen,” the resident said. “Three of them, Emmanuel Kure, Chohu Nyangu and Friday Musa, were all killed on the spot with a spray of bullets, while Anta Yakubu sustained some serious bullet injuries and later died at Enos Hospital Miango.”

The two recent attacks come as scores of Christians have been killed in Nigeria this year. 

According to another report from Morning Star News, at least 25 Christians were killed in several attacks across the Middle Belt carried out by suspected Fulani radicals in April. 

The Anambra-based nongovernmental organization International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, headed by Chrisitan criminologist Emeka Umeagbalasi, reported that at least 50 Christians in total were killed by Fulani radicals in March and in the first two days of April.

In March, the organization also estimated that about 11,500 Christians were killed in Nigeria by Boko Haram splinter groups and Fulani radicals since June 2015. 

As conflicts between farmers and herders have long existed, thousands of people from farming communities across the central part of the country have been displaced in recent years due to attacks by radical Fulani herders. While some have been able to return home, some are still displaced from their homes and farms. 

Over the last year, different international advocacy groups havewarned that the plight of Christians in Nigeria has reached the standard for “genocide.”

Nigeria is ranked as the 12th worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List. The U.S. State Department lists Nigeria on its “special watch list” of countries that tolerate or engage in severe violations of religious freedom. 

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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