ABUJA, Nigeria, December 12, 2021 (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen in northern Nigeria wounded a pregnant woman and set houses on fire on Saturday (Dec. 11) in attacks on predominantly Christian villages near the city of Kaduna, sources said.
Prompt action by the Nigerian army prevented further harm by heavily armed herdsmen who attacked Sabo GRA at about 1 a.m., said area resident Agwam Adams.
“The herdsmen tried to capture a Christian pregnant woman and her in-law, but the military rescued them,” Adams told Morning Star News by text message. “The woman sustained gunshot wounds on her leg. The attack in Sabo GRA is a serious one, but thank God for the prompt intervention from the Nigerian army.”
The herdsmen also attempted to kidnap another Christian family and, upon realizing their house was empty, set it ablaze, he said.
Police spokesman Mohammed Jalige confirmed the attack, saying there were about 30 assailants in military gear and bearing dangerous weapons. The area Kaduna Police Command received a distress call, and police and “other security agents” were dispatched, he said.
“The criminals on sensing the presence of security agents started shooting indiscriminately,” Jalige said in a press statement. “The operatives did not hesitate in returning fire for fire and succeeded in foiling the attempt. The criminals, frustrated by the police and other security agents, set residents’ homes on fire and fled.”
Dorcas Alex, a resident of Sabo GRA, told Morning Star News that when she heard the herdsmen’s gunshots, she phoned a military patrol team.
“I’m truly angry about the state of insecurity in Kaduna state,” Alex said. “Christians are no longer safe. We are traumatized by the incessant attacks on our people by these herdsmen.”
Jalige said that a simultaneous attack on Oil village, near Sabo, unfortunately resulted in the kidnapping of a woman and her four children. Oil village residents sent text messages to Morning Star News during the attack.
“Oil village and Sabo GRA, Christian communities, are under attacks from Muslim Fulani herdsmen right now,” read one message from Oil village resident Rita Usman.
Another predominantly Christian village, Unguwar Gimbiya, was also attacked in the wee hours of Saturday (Dec. 11), said village resident Maryam Kokwain. Area resident Barnabas Yohanna said it had been attacked several times in recent months.
“My church elder was killed on the night of Friday, Dec. 3, by herdsmen terrorists,” Yohanna said. “He was murdered in cold blood by terrorists who raided Ungwar Gimbiya. Fifty other Christians were kidnapped.”
Nearby Unguwar Dodo was also attacked early Saturday, residents said.
Nigeria led the world in number of kidnapped Christians last year with 990, according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List report. It was also 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 the 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.
In this year’s World Watch 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.
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Article originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.
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