JOS, Nigeria, June 24, 2021 (Morning Star News) – Armed Fulani herdsmen killed a Christian doctor on June 17 in Niger state, Nigeria following attacks that killed 17 Christians in Plateau state, sources said.
Dr. Precious Emeka Chinedu was killed after five Fulani herdsmen walked into the private hospital he operated in Salka village, Magama County, and abducted him the evening of June 17, area residents told Morning Star News. Chinedu was later shot to death, said area resident Emmanuel Ezeugo.
“His dead body was found by the local vigilantes the following morning in the bush where he was shot and killed by the herdsmen,” Ezeugo told Morning Star News.
A long-time friend, Baridueh Badon, confirmed the killing.
“His killers, who are herdsmen, came to the hospital, specifically asked for him, didn’t harm anybody, collected his money, took him away, and killed him without asking for ransom,” Badon told Morning Star News. “What did he do wrong? Your blood will keep crying until justice is done.”
Chinedu had moved to Niger state after finishing medical studies at the University of Ibadan, Oyo state, to start the hospital, he said.
“Everyone loved him, always smiling, and he was one of the most hard-working persons I have ever known,” Badon said. “His hospital boomed because he was saving lives. If you had any problems, Emeka would be there to help.”
About 1,000 Christians have been displaced in Niger state following herdsmen attacks on their villages and are in urgent need of shelter, food and health care, according to humanitarian agency Global Christian Missions.
“The entire Sakaba and Wasagu local government areas of Niger state have been completely sacked by Fulani herdsmen terrorists,” Moses Godspecial, vision coordinator for the agency, told Morning Star News. “These Christians ran to various villages in Kamaia Local Government Area in Kwara state, also in north-central Nigeria.”
Lives Devastated in Plateau State
In Plateau state, also in north-central Nigeria, Fulani herdsmen killed 17 Christians in various attacks this month.
At least 14 Christians were killed in an attack on June 13 on Sabon Layi (Kushe) village, Kuru District, of Jos South County, sources said.
Area resident George Dung said armed Fulani herdsmen attacked the village at about 9 p.m.
“So far, 14 corpses of Christians killed have been recovered as of 1 a.m. [June14],” Dung told Morning Star News in a text message.
Seven other Christians were wounded and were receiving treatment at Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) and Enos Hospital, Miango, local sources said.
Area residents Mathias Dilyep and Isaac Solomon confirmed the attack to Morning Star News. Area Sen. Istifanus Gyang, a member of Nigeria’s parliament, the National Assembly, issued a statement in which he demanded the government immediate stop such attacks.
“We need more reinforcement of security operatives in our various communities to curtail this heinous act,” Gyang said. “Government has a burden, which is constitutional, that is to protect lives and property, so the government has to take responsibility for its citizens.”
Police spokesman Gabriel Ogaba said the Plateau State Police Command had received a report of 10 persons shot dead in Sabon Layi.
“Personnel of the command and the military have been deployed to the affected area,” he said, adding that investigations were underway.
On June 12 in Miango District, Fulani herdsmen attacked Zogu village in Bassa County, killing two Christians.
Ezekiel Bini, president of the Irigwe Development Association, issued a statement on June 14, saying herdsmen also wounded two Christians in the attack. They were receiving treatment at Jos University Teaching Hospital and at Enos Hospital in Miango town, he said.
“It’s unfortunate that we have continued to bury our people on every attack by Muslim Fulani gunmen without anything being done to stop the killings by the authorities,” Bini said.
Also on June 12, a Christian farmer identified only as Bulus was shot dead by a group of herdsmen as he worked his fields at about 9 a.m. in the predominantly Christian community of Dong, Jos North County, an area resident said.
“Christians in Dong village are becoming endangered,” area resident Beatrice Audu told Morning Star News. “Bulus was striving to provide decent living for his family. For how long should we continue to live like this?”
Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List report. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.
Nigeria led the world in number of kidnapped Christians last year with 990. In this year’s World Watch List list of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 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.
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.”
The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.
In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”
On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for an investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.
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Article originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.
Photo courtesy: ©MSN/Baridueh Badon