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Terrorists kill 15 Christians during week of village attacks in Nigeria's Kaduna state

People react as a truck carries the coffins of people killed by the Fulani herdsmen, in Makurdi, Nigeria, January 11, 2018. | REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

ABUJA, Nigeria — Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists this week killed 15 Christians in Kaduna state, Nigeria, following the slaying of another one last week, sources said.

The assailants on Wednesday attacked predominantly Christian Angwan Magaji village, Kauru County, killing three Christians, after attacking Kigam village on Tuesday, where three others were slain, said Abel Habila Adamu, an area community leader.

The terrorists also wounded four others in the two villages, he said.

“We are saddened to inform you with a heavy heart about a resurgence of attacks on Christians by the armed Fulani herdsmen and terrorists,” Adamu said in a text message to Morning Star News. “Indeed, our land is bleeding, and the blood of innocent Christians cries profusely for justice.”

Adamu, president of the Chawai Development Association, identified the slain in the two villages as Martina Ishaya, 55; Sunday Gizindi, 55; Danjuma Alah, 35; Joseph Baza Dauda, 23; Danladi Yakubu, 57; and Simon Chibi, 33.

He identified those wounded by gunshot as Yohanna Anoh Ishaya, 27; Gado Monday Kiri, 53; Victor Timothy, 23; and John Auta.

“This has clearly shown that our land is indeed under siege by our enemies, terrorists and herdsmen,” Adamu said.

He appealed to the Nigerian government to urgently end incessant attacks on Christians in Kaduna state as well as in other parts of the country where terrorist acts have become endemic.

“Considering how sacrosanct life is to any human society, we condemn these killings and hereby reiterate the fact that the attacks are quite detestable to our peaceful society and people,” Adamu said. “We call on government at all levels to approach security matters with utmost sincerity and honesty as well as charge security heads to be more proactive in dealing with security matters concerning our land.”

Assailants on Tuesday also attacked predominantly Christian Takkanai village, Zangon Kataf County, killing six Christians and wounding four others, area residents said.

“The herdsmen, who were well armed with guns and other deadly weapons, attacked the village at about 7 p.m. as the villagers were getting ready to go to sleep. Among those killed are two children,” Samson Markus, a community leader in Zangon Kataf, told Morning Star News in a text message.

Samuel Achi, president of the Atyap Community Development Association, also identified the assailants as “Fulani herdsmen bandits” and said they set fire to two houses.

“The bandits operated for over an hour before leaving the community,” Achi said in a text message.

In Kauru County, herdsmen on Monday attacked Kigam village, killing three Christians and wounding three others, an area resident said. Robert Dodo said the attack occurred at about 9 p.m.

“The bandits shot at anyone they sighted as the villagers fled from their homes to escape being killed,” Dodo told Morning Star News in a text message.

In Chikun County, terrorists on Sept. 19 invaded predominantly Christian Mararaban Rido village, kidnapping six persons and later killing another Christian on Saturday (Sept. 23), said area resident Alheri Magaji.

She said the Sept. 19 attack took place at about 1 a.m.

“The house of a member of the Christian community of Mararaban Rido was invaded by bandits, and two members of that family were kidnapped and are being held captive,” Magaji told Morning Star News in a text message.

The assailants also kidnapped another woman and her three children, and last Saturday at about 8:30 p.m., returned and killed another villager, unidentified, she said.

“My heart is broken into a thousand pieces; please pray for us,” Magaji said.

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.

Morning Star News is the only independent news service focusing exclusively on the persecution of Christians. The nonprofit's mission is to provide complete, reliable, even-handed news in order to empower those in the free world to help persecuted Christians, and to encourage persecuted Christians by informing them that they are not alone in their suffering.

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