JOS, Nigeria, April 14, 2020 (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria decapitated two Christians in Benue state on Monday (April 13), and another group of herdsmen in Plateau state on Saturday (April 11) shot a Christian farmer dead, sources said.
In Benue state, residents of Ologba village, Agatu County told Morning Star News that herdsmen ambushed two members of a Catholic church in the village at about 8 a.m. on Monday.
“Oche Alaade and his friend who had visited the village were traveling out of the village on their way back to Obagaji town where they reside when they were ambushed by the Fulani herdsmen and their heads cut off,” area resident Louis Oguche told Morning Star News in a text message.
Oyaje Sule, uncle of Oche Alaade, confirmed the killings in a statement issued to local press on Monday evening.
“My nephew, Oche Alaade, and his friend had come to the village for a visit and were returning to Obagaji town today in the morning where they reside, when they were ambushed by armed Fulani herdsmen, who killed them by cutting off their heads,” Sule said. “And because of the nature of their death, the two of them have been buried without their heads.”
The murders follow a herdsmen attack on two Christians the previous week who are receiving hospital treatment for their wounds, Sule said.
Agatu, a predominantly Christian area in the north-central state of Benue, has been under siege by herdsmen in the past four years, with many Christians killed and displaced.
In Plateau state, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 30-year-old Christian farmer Mabur Mallo Gwang on Saturday (April 11) in Maiduna village, Daffo District of Bokkos County, area residents said.
Four armed herdsmen attacked him at his house while he was resting that evening, they said.
“Mabur Mallo Gwang was attacked in his house at about 8 p.m. and was shot dead by the Fulani herdsmen,” John Machief told Morning Star News by text message from Bokkos town, where he had fled. “The herdsmen were armed with guns and machetes. They forced their way into the victim’s house by shooting and breaking doors into his house.”
Hearing the sounds of gunshot as they broke into his house, Machief and other neighbors fled into the nearby bushes, he said.
“As the herdsmen were retreating after the attack, we heard them communicating in Fulfulde, which is the Fulani language,” Machief said.
He said Gwang was a member of the local Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) congregation.
Yusuf Machen, chairman of the Bokkos Local Government Council, confirmed the attack when contacted by Morning Star News.
“We are deeply saddened about such incessant attacks on the communities in Bokkos Local Government Area,” Machen said.
The body of one of the alleged assailants, Musa Audi, a herdsmen from Tunduk village in Daffo District, was found dead at the site according to one local report, but authorities were uncertain how he died.
Herdsmen have attacked Christian communities in Bokkos County over the past three years, as well as Christians in the counties of Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Jos South, Mangu and Riyom, residents told Morning Star News.
In the Daffo area in the past two years, more than 40 Christians have been killed, 11 communities destroyed and more than 7,000 people displaced, they said.
16 Christians Killed in Benue
Last month in Benue state, Muslim Fulani herdsmen also killed 16 Christians and kidnapped several others, sources said.
The attacks by the herdsmen occurred in the Christian communities of Div-Nzaav, Chongu, Abaji and Mbanyiar in Kwande and Guma counties.
Herdsmen attacked Div-Nzaav village in Kwande County on March 22 as Christians were about to begin worship in the village church, said area resident Solomon Amande.
“The Fulanis attacked us on Sunday, March 22; they shot and killed Tarfa Simon, while Ngusonon Kighir, a woman and member of our community, was cut with a machete,” Amande said in a text message to Morning Star News.
The attacked members of the Universal Reformed Christian Church (Nongu u Kristu u i Ser u sha Tar, or NKST) who escaped fled to Jato-Aka village, he added.
“The herdsmen also kidnapped two Christian women from the village who were rescued a few days after the attack,” Amande said. “These attacks against us by the herdsmen have become incessant for several years.”
In Abaji village three weeks earlier, also in Kwande County, armed herdsmen stormed the area in droves, residents said. They attacked at about 10 a.m on March 3, according to area resident Aloysius Yaga.
“Eight of our people were killed, and six others were kidnapped by the herdsmen during the attack,” Yaga told Morning Star News by text message. “The herdsmen shot indiscriminately at us and injured many others through machete cuts. I narrowly escaped being killed.”
The names of those kidnapped are Mnena Athanisius, Lydia Tange, Pius Kwanh, Tyavkase Zaki, Aondoaver Achin and Raphael Tarvihi, Yaga said.
In Guma County, seven NKST members were killed when Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked villagers at a funeral wake in Chongu village on March 6, sources said. Chongu resident Zaki Usuah he and others were holding a wake at about 11 p.m. when the Fulani herdsmen attacked.
“The wake was for one of our deceased elders in our church, NKST church, who was to be buried the following morning at Chongu,” Usuah said. “Suddenly we heard sounds of gun shots all around us. Those killed in the attack include Chikwa, Taza Abuur, Tarnum Yanum and four others.”
Herdsmen also attacked Mbanyiar village in Guma County at about 2 a.m. on March 5, residents said.
Oliver Tyoor Chado of Mbanyiar said the herdsmen kidnapped his wife and destroyed houses, food and animals belonging to Christians.
“The herdsmen, who were about a dozen, were armed with AK-47 rifles,” Chado told Morning Star News. “My wife and two other members of our village were kidnapped and taken away by the herdsmen; but they were eventually rescued by security agents after they were tortured by the herdsmen.”
He said displaced Christians have fled to Daudu town.
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.
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Article originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.
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