18 Christians killed since mid-April in Nigeria’s Plateau state, residents say

18 Christians killed since mid-April in Nigeria’s Plateau state, residents say

Following a rights group report that 1,336 people were killed in Plateau state, Nigeria, between December and February, residents reported 18 Christians killed since mid-April.

In Plateau state’s Kayarda village, near Namu in Qua’an Pan County, Fulani herdsmen killed four Christian farmers on May 7, council official Christopher Audu Manship told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News.

On the same day in Bassa County, herdsmen ambushed and hacked to death a Christian in Kwal village as he was working on his farm, said area resident Ezekiel Bini.

“The Christian farmer’s wife and children were killed by herdsmen in 2021 during an attack on the Kwal community, a predominantly Christian community,” Bini told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News.

In Bokkos County on May 7, Joshua Gonshak, a lecturer at Plateau State University, was kidnapped from his home in Bokkos town, said resident Christy Musa. The abduction followed an attack on Ngoksar village, Bokkos County on May 1 in which “Fulani terrorists” attacked eight Christians, killing two of them, she said.

“On the 13th of April, an attack on Natinnhut village was carried out by herdsmen, where three Christians were killed,” Musa added. “And on the 12th of April, there was an attack on Mandung village by herdsmen which resulted in the deaths of eight Christians.”

Area resident Sylvanus Malau told Morning Star News in a text message that Bokkos County has come under sustained herdsmen attacks without provocation.

“Our people aren’t game to be hunted and killed in this beastly manner, in a society governed by laws — something has to be done,” Malau said. “The government of Nigeria and security agencies, and every other legitimately recognized entity, must come to our aid.”

Makut Alfred Mashat, a former media aide in the Plateau state government, said in a press statement, “Since the brutal attacks on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day in 2023 by Fulani herdsmen, Bokkos has been under relentless assault. Over 1,000 innocent lives have been lost.”

The inspector-general of police has deployed troops, and the Special Military Task Force is present, but attacks persist, Mashat said.

An Amnesty International representative last Thursday reported that 1,336 people were killed in Plateau state between December and February. Isa Sanusi, Amnesty’s country director in Nigeria, said in a statement that the casualties were registered in Mangu, Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi counties.

“Weeks after the deadly Christmas Eve attacks on Barkin-Ladi, Bokkos and Mangu, our research team visited some of the affected areas,” Sanusi said, reporting that the deaths from December to February included 533 women, 263 children and 540 men.

The violence displaced 29,554 people from their homes, including 13,093 children and 16,461 women, he said.

“Displaced persons must be provided with adequate humanitarian support, and children’s education must be continued,” Sanusi said. “We urge the government to investigate security lapses that enabled gunmen to carry out these attacks and get away with it. Those with responsibility of protecting lives and property must be held to account and special attention be paid to how the conflict affects children.”

Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Sunday urged Christians in Plateau state not to despair but have faith in Christ to overcome the bloodshed.

At the RCCG’s Redemption Camp in Kassa village, Barkin-Ladi County, Pastor Adeboye said God has absolute power to lift people from one level to another, “and when God decides to promote, He can raise a person from a dunghill to the position of authority.”

“Promotion comes with a purpose and responsibility, while everything God has done is also with a purpose, and He wants His name to be glorified,” he said.

Nigeria remained the deadliest place in the world to follow Christ, with 4,118 people killed for their faith from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023, according to Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List report. More kidnappings of Christians than in any other country also took place in Nigeria, with 3,300.

Nigeria was also the third highest country in number of attacks on churches and other Christian buildings, such as hospitals, schools, and cemeteries, with 750, according to the report.

In the 2024 WWL of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria was ranked No. 6, as it was in 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 2020 report.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP 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.

Source » christianpost.com