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Nigeria: At least 15 killed in Fulani herdsmen strikes

04 April 2017

A fresh attack carried out by Fulani herdsmen has left at least 15 dead in predominantly Christian and farming communities in Nigeria's central Benue State.

Many have been reported missing, while several houses, huts and farmland have also been razed in Kwande Local Government Area, on Sunday (2 April, 2017), in the early morning.

The attackers first invaded Ikyoawen village, killing four and setting houses on fire, a local source told media.

"After that attack, they moved into Nzaav and Alaba in Yaav council ward, where over 11 were hacked to death, and several houses burnt down, by the herdsmen.

"Though the affected communities have been deserted, we are still searching in the bush for many missing, including women and children.

"We also realised that the attackers have occupied the sacked communities without resistance. As we speak, several houses are still on fire."

But the National Coordinator of Miyetti Allah, a Fulani herders' advocacy group, denied any involvement of Fulani in the attack.

"If anything is happening there, it would certainly be the handiwork of criminal elements, bent on frustrating the efforts of the government to ensure peaceful co-existence in the state", said Alhaji Garus Gololo.

The attack was confirmed by the police who confirmed that two bodies had been recovered from the affected communities.

This comes barely two weeks after a market in Zaki Biam was attacked causing the death of at least 17 people. These are the latest in a spiral of violence which has claimed hundreds lives in Benue and other States in Nigeria's Middle Belt.

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 infamous Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, in northern Nigeria, Hausa-Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria's Middle Belt are actually recorded as killing more Christians. The Fulani are a radical Islamic tribe that frequently targets Christian communities.

Food crisis in sub-Saharan Africa

Last month the UN announced that millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa are facing starvation and famine. For communities facing discrimination, either at the hands of local governments or in the distribution of vital aid, this is a worrying time.

But your support and prayers are enabling Open Doors to support Christians in Nigeria. Alongside emergency food aid, Open Doors partners with the local church in Nigeria to provide training, scholarships for children, community development projects, legal assistance and trauma counselling.

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Every £60 can provide emergency food aid to a family in Nigeria for six weeks, to help them simply survive.

Source: World Watch Monitor; Open Doors

Please pray:

  • For believers affected in this latest attack, that God would heal and comfort them
  • That Christians in Nigeria who face violence from extremists, as well as starvation in the wake of the famine, would be able to access food, aid, medical care and protection
  • That the Lord would provide the Nigerian government with wisdom in how to tackle the increasing Fulani attacks.

More News from Nigeria:

Find out more about persecution in Nigeria.