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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

45 Killed in Yet Another Attack on Christian Communities in Nigeria

  • World Watch Monitor
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Nov 20
  • Comments

A spate of attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria last weekend left 45 dead and several more injured.
They were in five villages in Kaura local government area, Middle Belt Kaduna state – an area mostly populated by Christians, on 13 November.

Most of the victims were women, children and the elderly, who could not escape the gunfire of the attackers, believed to be Fulani herdsmen. 120 houses, including 8 house-churches, were burnt down.

A resident of Kitakum (one of the villages), Samuel Adamu, told WWM the attackers came around 7pm local time. “They laid siege to the village before they started shooting sporadically and throwing explosives at our homes.

“They were armed with guns, knives, machetes and explosives. They slaughtered, butchered women, children and old people who could not escape” he said.

Adamu accused the government of failing to stop the persistent attacks that have claimed hundreds of lives in Southern Kaduna.

The attacks came a day after the Fulani herdsmen and indigenous communities in Kaura and neighbouring local government areas resolved to live in peace with each other.

That peace deal ceremony, held in Samaru Kataf, was attended by Governor Nasir El -Rufai of Kaduna state who commended the communities and assured that his administration was determined to ensure security of lives and property.

In reaction to the Sunday (13 Nov.) killings, the state government’s statement condemned the ‘barbaric’ attacks, saying they would not derail ongoing efforts at peace building in Southern Kaduna.

The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) is the main church organisation in Kaduna State (950 churches, over 2 million members) and most of the victims are ECWA members. Its Chairman for Kaduna State, at a news conference (16 Nov.), blamed the ongoing violence on a quest for grazing reserves.

"We have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the announced intention of the Kaduna State Government - to re-create existing cattle grazing reserves in Southern Kaduna - serves as a major motivation for the renewed ethno-religious violence and cleansing currently being visited on Southern Kaduna communities" said Rev. Zachariah Gado.

Since March 2013, at least 180 have been killed and 10,000 displaced, while hundreds of properties, including dozens of churches, have been burnt down laments ECWA.
Since March 2013, at least 180 have been killed and 10,000 displaced, while hundreds of properties, including dozens of churches, have been burnt down laments ECWA.
World Watch Monitor

He also said last week's donation by the Kaduna state governor for the reconstruction of churches destroyed during the attacks was a misplaced priority, pointing out that the money should have been given to security agencies.

"As perpetrators continue to evade consequences for their illegal and violent actions, impunity and lawlessness are becoming entrenched, to the detriment of the entire state".

‘‘Since the violent aftermath of the 2011 Presidential election, there have been increasing indications of the existence of a desperate, well-funded, organised and executed campaign not only to make life unbearable for the entire Southern Kaduna territory through threats, intimidation and psychological warfare, but also to occupy the land through what can only be described as ethno-religious cleansing by Fulani herdsmen militia’’.

Since March 2013, at least 180 have been killed and 10,000 displaced, while hundreds of properties, including dozens of churches, have been burnt down. Some 16 villages have been overrun by Fulani, who are now fully settled with their cattle and families, noted Gado.

He appealed to both the State and Federal governments to restore all communities that were taken over by herdsmen to the rightful owners, saying that failure to do so will only encourage further lawlessness.

Zachariah Gado also reiterated his calls for the establishment of a military base in Southern Kaduna state, to end the killings.

Timeline of recent attacks by Fulani Herdsmen: May-Nov 2016

13 Nov.

45 killed, 120 houses, including 8 house-churches, burnt down, as Fulani herdsmen laid siege to 5 villages (Kigam, Kitakum, Unguwan Magaji , Unguwan Rimi and Kizipi), all in Kaura local government area, about 300km east of Kaduna.

25 Oct.

Attacks on Misisi village (Kaninkon Chiefdom): 7 killed including the village head, 26 houses burnt down. Also, attacks on Pasakori (3km from Misisi): 2 killed and 16 houses burnt down.

15 Oct.

Godogodo: over 300 militiamen laid siege to the town. The killings and arson continued into 16 October and left 30 killed; 27,819 displaced; 326 injured and 326 homes burnt down including 7 churches. Properties estimated to be worth thousands of dollars were looted and destroyed.

24 Sept.

Godogodo: 7 killed as Fulani militia attacked the town (where thousands forcibly displaced from surrounding communities have sought refuge). The next day, an attempt raid was repelled by local vigilantes and security forces.

2 Aug.

Akwa: 2 killed, 20 houses burnt down including churches

Golgofa: 9 killed and the entire town razed to ashes.

1-2 Aug.

Unguwar Anjo village (estimated population 3,500) burnt down. A pastor and a community leader killed among others, 2 churches, including lots of materials, destroyed.

31 May

Ninte: the entire village burnt down including 3 churches, 3 vehicles and foodstuffs.

Unguwan Kafinta, Dangwa villages attacked: 5 killed and 298 properties destroyed.


Courtesy: World Watch Monitor

Photo: Since March 2013, at least 180 have been killed and 10,000 displaced, while hundreds of properties, including dozens of churches, have been burnt down laments ECWA.

Photo courtesy: World Watch Monitor

Publication date: November 20, 2016