At Least 31 Christians Slaughtered in Central Nigeria

Islamic extremists raid two counties in Plateau state, residents say.

Sen. Diket Plang of Plateau state, Nigeria. (Facebook)

Sen. Diket Plang of Plateau state, Nigeria. (Facebook)

ABUJA, Nigeria (Christian Daily InternationalMorning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists attacked villages in Plateau state, Nigeria at about 12:30 a.m. today (Jan. 24), killing at least 25 Christians, following the deaths of six others last week, area residents said.

Thousands of people were displaced in the attacks in Mangu County that began on Monday (Jan. 22), residents said.

“My village, Kwahaslalek, a Christian community, was attacked at about 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 24 January, by terrorists and herdsmen,” Hosea Ibrahim told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News in a text message. “The invaders surrounded the village at about midnight, and they shot at anyone they sighted. Twenty-five Christians who were mostly women and children were killed during the attack.”

Sen. Diket Plang of Nigeria’s parliament said in a statement today that the killings resulted from unprovoked attacks on innocent citizens. He called on “the armed forces and all security apparatus to live up to their sworn duty to protect the citizens of  Nigeria, and especially the people of Mangu LGA, at this trying moment.”

He urged authorities to investigate the attacks and ensure that the culprits face the full force of the law.

“Justice must prevail, and those responsible for these atrocities must be held accountable for their actions,” Plang said.

Alfred Alabo, spokesman for the Plateau State Command, told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News that the area was now under control and that police have been deployed to find the assailants.

The attack was part of a coordinated assault that began on Monday (Jan. 22) on Mangu County’s Kwahaslalek, Marian and Kinat villages and the towns of Jakatai, Sabon Gari and Mangu town, residents said.

“A friend’s family, five members of his family, were killed and burnt beyond recognition in Mangu on Tuesday, 23 January,” a resident identified only as Murphy told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “The wicked will never stop unless they have reasons to think twice before attacking. These are not random attacks, but well-coordinated to exterminate Christians.”

Plateau state officials had imposed a curfew on Tuesday (Jan. 23) in the Mangu area in an attempt to curb such attacks.

Killings in Bokkos

In Bokkos County, Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists on Jan. 17 killed six Christians in raids on the predominantly Christian villages of Butura Kampani and Gada, residents said. The attacks occurred simultaneously at about 10 a.m. and lasted until about 3 p.m.

Pastor Ayuba Matawal said the assailants ambushed five Christians in Butura Kampani and shot them to death.

“The attackers, who include Muslim terrorists and Fulani herdsmen, carried out the attacks against the Christian community for about 10 hours,” Pastor Matawal told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “Some of the victims were attacked as they were heading to their farms to harvest their crops.”

Another Christian was ambushed and shot death at Gada village area by another band of terrorists and Fulani herdsmen, he said.

“The second incident occurred at Gada village, where a Christian farmer was shot and killed by the terrorists and Fulani herdsmen, while the farmer was working on his farm,” Matawal said.

Since Christmas Eve, such attacks have driven about 19,000 people from their homes, said Pastor Matawal, who provides aid at camps for the internally displaced. He appealed for aid as the needs are overwhelming.

Nigeria remained the deadliest place in the world to follow Christ, with 4,118 people killed for their faith from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023, according to Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List (WWL) report. More kidnappings of Christians than in any other country also took place in Nigeria, with 3,300.

Nigeria was also the third highest country in number of attacks on churches and other Christian buildings such as hospitals, schools, and cemeteries, with 750, according to the report.

In the 2024 WWL of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria was ranked No. 6, as it was in 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 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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