JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – A 16-year-old girl, a father of nine children and a church pastor were among 11 Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen this week in southern Kaduna state, sources said.
On Tuesday (Aug. 18) in Zangon Kataf County, herdsmen attacked Unguwan Gankon village, killing a 16-year-old student, Takama Paul, and another Christian, 30-year-old Kefas Malachy Bobai, a father of three children, Luka Binniyat of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) said.
“Armed Fulani militia invaded Unguwan Gankon village in Gora Ward, Zangon Kataf LGA, and killed two persons and burned seven houses,” Binniyat said in a press statement. “Wary neighbors, however, came to the rescue, and the murderers fled.”
On Monday (Aug. 17) in Kajuru County, he said, herdsmen killed a Christian farmer and father of nine, Bulus Joseph, 48. His wife and three of his children were also attacked but survived, he said.
“Bulus Joseph was murdered gruesomely on his farm at Sabon Gida Idon, along the Kaduna-Kachia road, by armed Fulani militia,” Binniyat said. “He stood up to the killers so that his wife and three children could escape, which they did. But he paid the price with his life, as he was sub-humanly butchered by the cold-blooded murderers.”
Four Christians killed in an attack on a vehicle on Sunday, Aug. 16, (not Monday as previously reported) included a pastor with the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), according to SOKAPU.
Adalchi Usman, pastor of an ECWA congregation in Unguwan Madaki village in Kajuru County, was shot dead in an ambush on him and three other Christians by Muslim Fulani herdsmen as they were traveling out of the community, Binniyat said.
Also slain were Christians Mariah Na’Allah of Unguwan Madaki village, Shekari of Unguwan Ali, originally from Anchuna village in Zangon Kataf County, and Ezekiel Maikasa of Gadanaji in Kajuru County, he said.
“Pastor Adalchi Usman, 39, and a father of two, was ambushed while in a commercial vehicle he had boarded with three others,” Binniyat said. “The killers came from the bush and just started shooting at the car. The driver of the vehicle, Danlami Dariya, was abducted and at the time of releasing this statement his whereabouts were still unknown.”
Binniyat confirmed a previous report to Morning Star News from a Bugai village area resident of a herdsmen attack on the community on Sunday (Aug. 16).
Armed Fulani militia attacked the village near Banikanwa, Kachia County, killing village head Dan’azumi Musa, 67; his mother, Kande Musa, 97; and his siblings Aniya Musa, 60, and Angelina Irmiya, 45, Binniyat said.
Six others sustained serious injuries, he said: John Dan’azumi, Danbuzu Anita, Blessing Soja, Patricia Anita, Precious Friday and Mercy Yohana.
“Part of the village was burnt after the attackers looted the village,” he said. “This is to further show that the siege on southern Kaduna communities is still ongoing. The genocide is still much on. For southern Kaduna, the past five years that Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has been governor, it has been a grim horror tale of blood, destruction, and hopelessness which we shall never forget.”
Enoch Barde, a resident of Abashiya village in Kaduna state’s Kachia County, told Morning Star News that the corpse of Godwin Jonathan Bakoshi, a village Christian who was kidnapped on July 29, was recovered by Christians on Monday (Aug. 17).
Bakoshi, 23, had gone to a farm with two of his brothers and the 12-year-old son of a local ECWA pastor when armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked them on July 29, Barde said in a text message to Morning Star News. Bakoshi was taken captive and killed, but the other three escaped, he said.
“The two brothers who escaped were able to return to the village the following morning after sleeping in the bush,” Barde said. “The third escapee [12-year-old’s name withheld for security reasons] only returned to the village after wandering in the bush for three days and told us that while he was hidden, he heard the gunshot sound when Godwin Jonathan Bakoshi was killed by the Fulani herdsmen.”
Binnayat said that 50,000 Christians have been displaced from 109 villages now occupied by armed Fulani herdsmen in Kachia, Kajuru, Chikun and Kaura counties, all in southern Kaduna state.
“Indigenous rural, Christian communities of southern Kaduna have been sacked by rampaging armed Fulani militia and displaced to various communities and Internally Displaced Persons camps,” he said. “These villages are now under the full occupation of Fulani some for over a 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 recent report.
“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] 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.
The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.
“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”
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.