Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed a young Christian man after stopping him on a highway in Kaduna state on October 5, while in Plateau state another 13 Christians have been slain in less than a month, sources said. It was gathered that armed herdsmen stopped the vehicle of Bartholomew David, 23, and a female passenger shortly after he had dropped his sister off at the Akilbu railway station, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the city of Kaduna on the highway to Abuja. They took David and the woman, who had requested a ride from him to the Akilbu station, into the wilderness, Akilbu resident Enoch Barde told Morning Star News.
“As he was coming back he gave a lady a lift to Akilbu, and on their way the kidnappers stopped them, took them inside the bush and shot him to death, and the girl ran,” Barde said, citing information he learned from the young woman. “The girl said the herdsmen kidnapped them because they were Christians. She told the police the same thing.”
The woman, whose name is undisclosed for security reasons, and David are of the Adara ethnic group in Kaduna state. Barde added that kidnapping of Christians in the area has become rampant as the Fulani herdsmen are Muslims while the native groups of the Adara tribe are mostly Christians.
“In most cases, only a few women or girls who are lucky usually escape from the rampaging kidnappers,” he said. “And at times, the kidnappers will rape the women and girls before letting them go.”
David, a 2017 graduate of Federal College of Education, Minna, was a member of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Akilbu.
“He was a member of the youth fellowship of the church,” Barde said.
Plateau State Slayings
In Plateau state, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 13 Christians in less than a month, including three slain. While on October 7, there was an attack on Vatt village in Barkin Ladi County by armed Fulani militias, who killed two Christian women, Tabitha Joro Dung and Yop Gwom Pam, and a Christian man, Peter Zong, area resident Solomon Dalyop told Morning Star News by phone.
“The three were working on a farm, harvesting tomatoes, when the herdsmen attacked and killed them in the evening,” Dalyop said.
Four days earlier, on October 3, herdsmen killed four members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in Vatt, Dalyop said.
A member of Nigeria’s National Assembly, Simon Mwadkon, called the killings in Vatt “ungodly, barbaric and a sacrilege” in a press statement from Jos.
“It does appear simply that some people are determined to undermine all efforts to restore peace in our communities,” Mwadkon said.
In Jol village in neighboring Riyom County, herdsmen on September 28, ambushed and killed three Christians returning to their community who had been displaced by violence a year ago, sources said. They also were members of COCIN.
In Bassa County, which shares a border with Riyom, three other Christians were killed in Hukke village on September 23, area resident John Gospel Gana told Morning Star News by phone. Those killed were two women, Ladi Wuh, 45, and 36-year-old Laraba Audu, and community leader Musa Yevuh, 40. All three were members of the Baptist Church.
Gana called the attack “an act of inhumanity of armed Fulani to us at Hukke.”
“The three were ambushed by a group of 10 armed herdsmen on the morning of the fateful day at about 8:30 a.m. as they were on their way to the farm a few miles out of their village,” he said.
Gana called on the Nigerian government to urgently “step up deliberate action to end the renewal of both guerilla attacks by bloodthirsty Fulani marauders whose consistency in raiding communities has obviously become a gradual extinction of our people.”
In addition, three Christians are still receiving hospital treatment for wounds sustained in an attack on August 1. Timothy Joseph, 23, Nuhu Ishaya, 22, and Achi Danjuma, 21, were returning to Ancha village from Hukke when Fulani herdsmen ambushed and shot them, Ancha resident John Bulus told Morning Star News.
“The victims are currently receiving treatment at a hospital in the city of Jos,” Bulus said.
Christian Leaders Call for Action
Lawrence Zango, a spokesman for area Christian communities, confirmed the attacks, saying such assaults have continued unabated in spite of efforts to persuade the Nigerian government to address the violence.
“Our communities have been attacked by armed Fulanis in the past three years without end,” Zango said. “All efforts to call the attention of the Nigeria government to these attacks are futile, as no effort has been made to end them.”
At a recent funeral for slain Christians, the Rev. Joshua Bari, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the area, expressed his dismay at the government’s inaction.
“We consider this to be purely an impudent act, and in fact a degrading treatment being done on Christians to stop us from preaching the message of peace,” Pastor Bari said. “We, therefore, plead with and urge the government of Nigeria to come to our rescue by putting a stop to these killings, knowing fully that the sole duty of the state is to protect lives and properties. When this is not done it shows that the state has failed.”
He called on Christian organizations, individual Christians, Non-Government Organizations and the government to support the families of the deceased prayerfully and financially to help alleviate their sufferings.
Nigeria ranked 12th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.