ABUJA, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked a village in northern Nigeria on early Tuesday (Oct. 31), killing one Christian, wounding two and kidnapping 25 others, sources said.
In southern Kaduna state’s village of Ungwan Baka, Kachia County, the assailants attacked while residents were asleep, said area resident Emmanuei Yusuf.
“The Christian villagers were attacked in the early hours of Tuesday,” Yusuf told Morning Star News in a text message. “The injured victims are currently being treated in the hospital.”
Another resident, Herbert Chindo, said Christian communities in the Kachia area have suffered prior attacks by armed herdsmen and other terrorists.
“This is the third attack on our community,” Chindo said. “Please pray for us.”
On April 3, armed assailants invaded the area and kidnapped eight Christian girls from the Government Secondary School, a public high school in Awon, said area resident Jonah Ayuba. The girls were rescued by the military on April 18, he 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.
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