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Nigeria: Attacks on Christian communities leave 45 dead

21 November 2016

Attacks on Christian communities leave 45 dead

A series of terrifying attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria has left 45 dead and several more injured.

The attacks took place in five villages in the Kauru Local Government Area, in the Middle Belt state of Kaduna - an area mostly populated by Christians.

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

'Women, children and old people' killed

A resident of Kitakum (one of the villages), Samuel Adamu, said that the attackers came at around 7pm on Sunday 13 November.

"They laid siege to the village before they started shooting sporadically and throwing explosives at our homes," he said. "They were armed with guns, knives, machetes and explosives.

"They slaughtered [and] butchered women, children and old people who could not escape."

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

Since March 2013, at least 180 people have been killed and 10,000 displaced, while hundreds of properties, including dozens of churches, have been burnt down. The perpetrators of this violence are Islamic Hausa-Fulani herdsmen, who frequently attack Christian villages. They then take the grazing land from indigenous Christian communities, depriving Christians of their fields and livelihoods.

'Ethno-religious cleansing'

The state government condemned the 'barbaric' attacks, saying they would not derail ongoing efforts at peace-building in southern Kaduna.

Most of the victims of the recent attacks were members of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) - the main church organisation in the region. Its Chairman for Kaduna State, Rev. Zachariah Gado, claimed that the perpetrators of the violence were escaping justice.

"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," he said.

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 taken over by herdsmen to the rightful owners.

Source: World Watch Monitor

Please pray:

  • For the Christian communities of these areas, for protection and safety
  • For Open Doors workers in Nigeria, as they seek to bring help to devastated communities
  • For the state and national government, that they will protect the innocent and bring the killers to justice.

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Find out more about persecution in Nigeria.