JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – A Muslim Fulani herdsmen raid on a village in central Nigeria’s Kogi state on Wednesday (July 29) killed 14 Baptist Christians, including 13 members of an extended family, sources said.
Police said the wife, mother, all the children and other relatives of one man – 13 in all – were killed in the 2 a.m. attack on Agbadu-Daruwana. He also lost his younger brother, an aunt and uncle and a sister-in-law, Kogi State Command Commissioner of Police Ede Ayuba said in a statement.
“In that family, it is only one person that survived,” Ayuba said.
Leaders of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship posted on the group’s Facebook page that the victims were members of the Bethel Baptist church in Agbadu-Daruwana, part of the Lokoja Baptist Association of Kogi State Baptist Conference.
“They have since been buried,” the post read. “All the community members, mainly Christians, have all fled. Please pray for God’s intervention against antichrist in the land.”
Area resident Rachael Nuhu told Morning Star News in text messages that the assailants were Fulanis, predominantly Muslim cattle herders who also have attacked surrounding villages.
“They invaded the village armed with guns and riding motorcycles,” Nuhu said. “They were speaking in the Fulani language as they attacked our people. This is not the first time they’re attacking our communities, as other villages around us had been attacked in a similar way by these herdsmen.”
Commissioner Ayuba said that in addition to the 14 persons killed, six were wounded.
Police and government officials are under pressure from the Nigerian government of President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, to refrain from mentioning Fulanis in herdsmen attacks, and Kogi Gov. Yahaya Bello condemned the attack by “heartless criminals” in Kogi/Koto Karfe County.
In a statement by Chief Press Secretary Onogwu Muhammed on Thursday (July 30), Bello vowed to sustain operations against “criminal elements.”
In March 2018 Fulani herdsmen reportedly killed 32 people in Kogi state’s Dekina and Omala counties. Wearing military fatigues and armed with AK-47 assault rifles, they also burned down 20 homes.
The previous month, Bello had reportedly donated 15,000 hectares of land to Fulani herders under a controversial federal government cattle colony policy. He said at that time that Fulani herdsmen would be brought to the land since the state didn’t have an anti-grazing law as neighboring Benue state did.
On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.