Herdsmen Suspected in Killing of Christians in Kaduna State, Nigeria

At least four lives lost in one day.

Sultan Bello Mosque, city of Kaduna, Kaduna state, Nigeria. (Anasskoko, Creative Commons)

Sultan Bello Mosque, city of Kaduna, Kaduna state, Nigeria. (Anasskoko, Creative Commons)

ABUJA, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Suspected Fulani herdsmen on Dec. 16 December killed four Christians in southern Kaduna state, Nigeria, sources said.

Killed in Sako village, Zangon Kataf County were Samson Maza and David Garba, said Samuel Aruwan, commissioner of Kaduna state’s Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs.

Area resident Susan Peter sent a text message to Morning Star News during the attack saying the two Christians were ambushed as they returned from their farms.

“Zaman Dabo and Sako villages are under attack right now by Fulani herdsmen. Please pray for us,” Peter said. “Two Christians were killed, and one other was injured during the attack on Zaman Dabo and Sako villages.”

The same day, the bodies of two other Christians were discovered in the Kurfi-Magamiya area, Aruwan said. They were identified as the remains of Nehemiah Abba and Samuel Gwazah, he said.

Area resident Friday Raymond said they were killed by herdsmen.

“The two Christians are local farmers from Kurfi and Magamiya villages,” he said.

National Assembly Sen. Danjuma La’ah of southern Kaduna state condemned the killings in a press statement.

“People of southern Kaduna state have suffered a series of attacks in recent times which have led to  loss of lives and property,” La’ah said. “I appeal to our security agencies to double their efforts towards curtailing the wanton killings and bloodshed in the area.”

Aruwan said military and police authorities also reported killings in Chikun County at about the same time.

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 Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List report. 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.

In this year’s 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. Nigeria led the world in number of kidnapped Christians last year with 990, according to the WWL report.

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.

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