Terrorists Kill 10 Christians in Central Nigeria 

Assailants shoot victims in their homes, sources say.

View of Mkar Hill in Mkar, Benue state, Nigeria. (Dotun55, Creative Commons)

View of Mkar Hill in Mkar, Benue state, Nigeria. (Dotun55, Creative Commons)

ABUJA, Nigeria (Christian Daily InternationalMorning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists on Jan. 7 killed 10 Christians in three villages in central Nigeria, sources said.

The assailants separated into three groups and attacked Mcia, Arufu and Chembe villages in Logo County, Benue state, simultaneously at about 8:30 p.m., residents said.

“The terrorists invaded as the villagers were sleeping in their houses,” Terlumun Unande told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News in a text message. “The attackers moved from house to house, shot and killed 10 Christians, while scores were injured. Many more were displaced from the three villages as they had to flee in order to escape.”

Two other residents corroborated the account, including Joseph Anawah, who said in a text message, “In latest onslaughts against Christians in three communities of Arufu, Mchia and Chembe of Benue state, Muslim Fulani terrorists have killed 10 Christians.”

The Rev. Jonathan Adagbe, Logo Local Government Council member, confirmed the attacks.

“Armed Fulani herdsmen in collaboration with Muslim terrorists attacked three of our communities, Mchia, Arufu, and Chembe, on Sunday, 7 January,” he said, while an area Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Michael Mchia, responded to an inquiry with the same information.

“It’s disheartening that these attacks have been ongoing without abating,” Mchia said. “In similar attacks last year, 12 Christians were killed in attacks by terrorists and herdsmen against these Christian communities.”

Terlumun Uke, another Logo County resident, said that on Dec. 26, a Christian in his village of Tse Abur Norsua also was slain.

“The armed Fulani herdsmen on 26 December, as we were celebrating Christmas, killed a Christian member of the NKST [Universal Reformed Christian Church] church by the name of Abur Terkuma,” Uke said. “He was shot and killed at Tse Abur Norsua, a village in Logo Local Government.”

Benue state has suffered similar slaughters. Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists on Oct. 29 killed six Christians in the state, following the slaughter of 10 others earlier that month. On July 16, Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists killed six Christians in Ushongo County, Benue state, the latest of 37 Christians slain over the course of three weeks in the state.

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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