Herdsmen Kill Church Elder, Abduct Three Other Christians

Muslim Fulani also wound Christian in attack in northwest Nigeria.

Fulani herdsmen shot ECWA church elder Mati Sani, 65, in Kadabuki Dan-Marabu village, Katsina state, on Feb. 16, 2021. (Morning Star News photo courtesy of the Rev. Ali Mati)

Fulani herdsmen shot ECWA church elder Mati Sani, 65, in Kadabuki Dan-Marabu village, Katsina state, on Feb. 16, 2021. (Morning Star News photo courtesy of the Rev. Ali Mati)

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen killed a church elder and abducted three other Christians in northwest Nigeria on Feb. 16, sources said.

Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot dead Mati Sani, a 65-year-old elder with the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), in an attack in the village of Kadabuki Dan-Marabu, Kankara County, Katsina state at about 1 a.m., said his son, the Rev. Ali Mati.

Pastor Mati told Morning Star News “Fulani bandits” also abducted Ibrahim Lawal, Mamar Rahila and Hafsat Yusuf, besides shooting and wounding Danjuma Sani Mati, who was receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Center in the city of Katsina. The victims are all Christians who are related to each other, he said.

Sani served as an ECWA Kankara Local Church Council delegate to the ECWA Katsina District Church Council.

“He served as a lay leader in the church for over 35 years at different capacities,” Pastor Mati said.

The ECWA church in the predominantly Muslim village of Kadabuki Dan-Marabu where Sani served has about 150 members, the pastor said.

Kankara County was the scene of the Dec. 11 kidnapping of students by Fulani herdsmen at a public high school, the Government Secondary School, Kankara. The Katsina state government and the federal government paid a ransom for the release of the students.

Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.

Nigeria led the world in number of kidnapped Christians last year with 990, according to the WWL report. In the 2021 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.

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 recent report.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] 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.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

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  1. For many years now Northern Nigerian Christians have been under systematic and coordinated oppression, suppression and mental and physical attacks. The Southern parts remained quiet until recently when Fulani Muslim herdsmen started attacking them as well raping their women and kidnapping for ransom.

  2. It sad and pathetic that lives of many christian leaders as well as followers are being wasted by Fulani marauders on a daily basis in Nigeria. It looks like either the government of the day being lead by the same Fulani are helpless or turning blind eye to all the atrocities of their people for reasons best known to them. Other Christian nations need to cry with Nigeria Christians. They should support them by calling on their government to acts fast to help helpless Christians in Nigeria.

  3. It’s well and May God comfort you and the entire families as well as the churches at large and let me remind us on our ECWA theme of the previous years that says Joy in suffering this is the time that thing are getting out of hand most especially we Christian in the northwest after kidnapping and raping of our wives if you look at it in terms of employment we Christian we are facing a serious problem that is why our people now are putting Hausa or Muslim names for their children which is no good at all you will hear Christian boy Adda’u, Sabitu, Hashimu etc all because of Admission and Employment for this i challenge us Christian no matter what don’t put your child this type of names May God intervene and rescue those ones that have been kidnapped and rest in peace for those that have departed Haruna Garba Katsina DCC.

  4. This massive killings of Christian minority in Northern Nigeria is highly unfortunate. The U.S. & the U.N. should look into Nigeria & the systemic unrestrain killings going on by the President’s tribesmen- the Fulani.

  5. This form of massacre, for how long will it continue? I really wonder if the lives of commoners are of any value in Nigeria. To dwell in peace, we must shun all form of bloodshed in Nigeria as a whole, weither in the Western part of the nation, the Northern, Eastern and Southern parts.

    Let’s Build and not Destroy Lives and Properties 😢

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