Fulanis Kill 11Christians in Attack on Village, Sources Say

Mama Fide (right), burned to death in Kurmin Masara village, Zangon Kataf County, Kaduna state, Nigeria on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. (Photo by Blessing Gimbia Auta)

ABUJA, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen on Sunday (Jan. 30) killed 11 Christians in an attack in northern Nigeria, sources said.

Danjuma Enoch said his grandmother, known as Mama Fide, was burned to death in the attack at 3 a.m. in southern Kaduna state’s Kurmin Masara village, Zangon Kataf County.

“Grandma was unable to escape when the attack took place because she was very old and blind,” Enoch told Morning Star News. “While other people scampered to escape, grandma stayed back in her room which served as her last save haven.”

He said the assailants were Fulani herdsmen, and that Fulanis have mounted numerous assaults in the area.

“Grandma was our surviving grandmother and a great-grandmother to many of our younger ones,” Enoch said. “We can only imagine how horrible it was for her to breathe her last this way after living long into her old age. Painful and sad. Grandma’s blood will surely rise and speak against her killers and their sponsors.”

Area resident Moses Zamani Kambai also said the assailants were Fulanis, and that they burned down many houses.

“The herdsmen burned down the Kurmin Masara community almost completely,” Kambai told Morning Star News. “So far nine corpses have been recovered, including that of Mama Fide, who was burnt to death inside her room. Other missing Christian victims are still being sought.”

Fulani herdsmen attacked several times in January, he said.

“Some of these evil happenings are under-reported, and many don’t get reported at all,” Kambai said. “We call on the government to double its fight against the terrorists in those communities affected.”

Kaduna state spokesman Samuel Aruwan said 11 people were killed in the attack, several others were wounded and more than 30 properties were set ablaze. He identified the slain as Elizabeth Ayuba, Veronica Auta, Bege Daniel, Kephas Waje, Promise Jacob, Damaris Istifanus, Hauwa Joshua, Dogara Gambo, Lidia Ishaya, Michael Achi and Gabriel Michael.

“Troops of the Nigerian Air Force Special Forces who responded to distress calls from the area also fell into an ambush as they mobilized to the scene of the attack,” Aruwan said. “The troops cleared the ambush and reached the general area, along with troops of Operation Safe Haven.”

Area resident Grace Bamaiyi told Morning Star News that Kurmin Masara has suffered a number of attacks by Fulani militia. Gloria Jerry, another resident of the area, said her cousin was killed in the attack.

“This is heartbreaking,” she said.

Prior Assaults

In Kaduna state’s Chikun County, herdsmen in collaboration with other Islamic extremist terrorists attacked Gbagyi Villa outside Kaduna city on Jan. 10, killing one Christian and kidnapping mostly women and children, residents said.

Area resident John Amos said the assailants arrived at about 10 p.m.

“They killed a member of our community and kidnapped 10 members of our community who happened to be mostly women and children,” Amos said in a text message. “They’re still being held captive.”

Fulani herdsmen attacked another Chikun County area outside Kaduna city, Maraban Rido village, on Jan. 4, residents said.

“The herdsmen, working alongside armed bandits, attacked our community, Maraban Rido village, at about 11 p.m. and captured about six Christians in our community,” Donatus Yohanna told Morning Star News by text message. “The victims are still being held captive up to now.”

The Rev. Joseph John Hayab, chairman of the Kaduna State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), called security agencies to make concerted efforts to curtail attacks.

“These bandits have toyed with the joy and peace of Kaduna people enough and should not be given any space again to torment innocent citizens this New Year,” Hayab said. “We will continue to pray and support our security men and women just as we will also never stop to tell them the truth when they fail in their duties.”

The Rev. Ali Buba Lamido, Anglican archbishop of Kaduna province and dean of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), called on the government to declare a state of emergency in northern Nigeria.

“Christians are attacked, and unarmed persons are either being killed or kidnapped in the country,” Lamido said. “Most times, Christians are being killed and their houses destroyed by herdsmen and terrorists. There’s need for the government to protect these communities.”

Kaduna state government spokesman Samuel Aruwan reported that two Christians were killed in Zangon Kataf County on Jan. 2 at Ungwan Romi-Afana and Ungwan Zallah.

“Armed bandits attacked commuters along the Ungwan Rimi-Afana road in Zangon Kataf LGA,” Lamido said. “One Joshua Kawu sustained gunshot wounds on the chest and was rushed to a hospital, where he was unfortunately confirmed dead.”

In Chikun County, assailants shot dead Moses Jajaa in Ungwan Zallah, Udawa, Aruwan said.

Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 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 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.

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