JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed three Christians in their home in the early hours of Tuesday (May 31) in Kaduna state, days after herdsmen attacked another area Christian with machetes, area sources said.
The armed herdsmen attacked Ninte village, Jema’a Local Government Area in the north-central state of Kaduna, at about 2 a.m. and burned a pastor’s house and those of others, a survivor told Morning Star News.
Zakka Kagoma, 40, and two other Christians yet to be identified were killed in their house where they were sleeping, said Naomi Sali of neighboring Andaha, one of hundreds of Christians from 14 villages who fled the area. A Jema’a LGA official confirmed the attack but said two persons were killed.
Sali, 45, and other residents escaped into the bushes, where she passed the rest of the night before finding her way to Jos, Plateau state to take refuge.
“There were gunshots throughout the night as we hid in the bushes,” she said. “They burned down houses, and set fire to the house of the pastor of ECWA [Evangelical Church Winning All] Church-Ninte, the Rev. Saleh Yamusa. He escaped with his family unhurt before the Fulani herdsmen burned his house.”
On May 25, she said, three Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked a 55-year-old area Christian.
“A Christian whose name is Ango was returning from his farm at about 5 p.m. when he was ambushed and attacked by a band of three Fulani Herdsmen,” she said. “Ango was pursued by three sons of the Ardo [Fulani leader] in the area. They captured him and dragged him to the bush close to a stream, where they cut him with machetes. He was left there unconscious as they thought he was dead.”
The three assailants went back to their home, packed up their belongings and relatives and fled the area, she said. Ango, treasurer of the Men’s Fellowship of the ECWA-Zakkan Local Church Council, was discovered by a pastor of a Baptist church in Ninte village who was returning from his farm.
“Ango was in pains and crying out after he regained consciousness,” she said. “The Baptist pastor who found Ango in a pool of blood met some Christian women who were also returning from their farms and requested they rush to the village to alert others for help to take him to the hospital.”
The victim was taken to Kafanchan General Hospital, where he has been recovering.
Sali added that on Sunday (May 29), armed men wearing police uniforms shot a woman from Angwan Anjo, near Ninte village in the thigh. She also was taken to Kafanchan General Hospital.
As a result of Tuesday’s attack on Ninte village, residents have fled from the predominantly Christian villages of Dangwa, Nandu, Zakkan, Farin Hauwa 1 and 2, Mante, Gada Biyu, Golkofa, Angwan Anjo, and Akwa, “as there are threats from the herdsmen to attack them,” Sali said.
Kaduna and Plateau states have been plagued by such attacks for years, but in recent years there are signs that Islamic extremist groups are arming and/or accompanying Muslim Fulani herdsmen and inciting them in their tribal and economic conflicts with Christian farmers. The assaults on unarmed Christians have reached central-eastern states such as Taraba and Benue, as well as more southern areas.
Church leaders say attacks on Christian communities by the herdsmen constitute a war “by Islam to eliminate Christianity” in Nigeria. Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million and live mainly in the south, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north.