Three Christians Slain in Benue State, Central Nigeria 

Fulani herdsmen kill three others in March.

Benue River in Makurdi, Benue state, Nigeria. (Bandele Femi, Ashinze, Creative Commons)

Benue River in Makurdi, Benue state, Nigeria. (Bandele Femi, Ashinze, Creative Commons)

ABUJA, Nigeria (Christian Daily InternationalMorning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen killed three Christians last week in an area of Benue state, central Nigeria, a local leader said.

Otukpo Local Government Council Chairman Alfred Omakwu said the herdsmen on Saturday (April 20) killed a Christian in Otukpo County’s Entepka village, after killing two others on Thursday (April 18) in the Entepka District’s Adoka-Icho community.

“The two were ambushed and shot by the herdsmen,” Omakwu told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News.

Suspected Fulani herdsmen also killed three Christians in attacks on Onipi village on March 19 and on Okakpoga village on March 12, Omakwu said.

The herdsmen raided nine predominantly Christian villages in March and April, including Udabi, all in Entekpa District, he said. Omakwu said Christians displaced by the attacks were camped at St. Charles Primary School, owned by the Roman Catholic Church.

Andrew Mamedu, country director of Action Aid, an international humanitarian organization, said at a press conference in Abuja that the incessant attacks on Christian communities in Benue have displaced about 1.4 million people. He called for urgent government action to curtail such assaults.

“With what is happening in Benue state, people may not have villages to retire to when they grow old,” Mamedu said in an April 20 press statement. “There is also the loss of culture that comes with it. If we fail to act now, I am afraid that by 2030 we would have lost a generation, and it may take up about 50 years to recover from it.”

The toll on the lives and livelihoods of these attacks cannot be overstated, he said.

“Families have been torn apart, homes destroyed and futures shattered,” Mamedu said. “The trauma and suffering endured by those affected are profound and long lasting, underscoring the urgent need for sustainable peace building and conflict resolution efforts.”

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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