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Nigeria: Christians murdered in attacks by Fulani herdsmen

13 January 2017

Large numbers of heavily armed Islamic Fulani herdsmen have targeted two Christian communities in southern Kaduna, in Nigeria's Middle Belt, killing unknown numbers of Christians and destroying surrounding villages and farms.

Countless bodies remain in the bush around Kagoro and Kafanchan - two towns which had been hosting displaced people fleeing Fulani violence from elsewhere - after people retrieving the bodies had been further attacked.

Christians in the town remain fearful as there are reports that Fulani herders are still hiding in the mountains surrounding the two towns.

Open Doors visits Kagoro following attacks

Open Doors workers have visited Kagoro to assess the situation following the attacks and to encourage Christians there.

The Open Doors team were told that troops supposed to be providing security were overwhelmed, while others were accused of doing nothing to protect the Christians.

"There is concern over the humanitarian hardships created by the attacks," writes an Open Doors communicator. "Most displaced [people] are hosted by families in the two communities, but they find it hard to make ends meet. The insecurity has isolated this area and resulted in limited trade. The wider area already faces exorbitant food prices caused by the prolonged Boko Haram insurgency. Church leaders are working to set up a camp for the displaced."

808 have died since September, say church leaders

According to some church leaders in Kafanchan, a total of 808 people have died in 53 villages in southern Kaduna since September. Furthermore, 57 people have been injured; farm produce estimated to be worth over £14,200 has been destroyed; and a total of 1,422 houses and 16 churches have burnt during the attacks.

According to local media, Dr Agnes Callamard - the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions - has confirmed that she is probing 'recent allegations of killings of over 800 citizens mostly women, children and the elderly in southern Kaduna by suspected herdsmen, and to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, and to provide reparations to victims'. (This followed a petition dated 30 December 2016 sent by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.)

Persecution in Nigeria

Nigeria is number 12 on the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List - a ranking of the countries where Christians face the severest persecution for their faith.

While the Nigerian army has had some success in tackling the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram -which has attacked and abducted Christians in the north of Nigeria - most of the recorded killings of Christians in Nigeria have been carried out by Hausa-Fulani herdsmen, a radical Islamic tribe that frequently targets Christian communities.

Source: Open Doors

Please pray:

  • For God to comfort to all who have lost loved ones in the attacks on Kagoro and Kafanchan
  • For the Lord's provision to the communities who are facing food shortages as a result of the violence
  • That the government will take sufficient action to protect the lives of Christians in Nigeria's Middle Belt.

More News from Nigeria:

Find out more about persecution in Nigeria.