By Morning Star News –
Six children and a pregnant woman were among nine people that Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed in north-central Nigeria Tuesday night (April 14), sources said.
About a dozen herdsmen armed with rifles and machetes raided Hura-Maiyanga village, in the Miango area of Kwall District in Plateau state’s Bassa County, shouting the jihadist slogan “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” sources said.
“They were armed with machetes and AK-47 rifles as they attacked us,” Hanatu John, a woman who survived the attack, told Morning Star News. “They attacked our village at about 8 p.m., and they were shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ as they shot into our houses.”
The assailants were speaking Fulfulde, the Fulani language, as they shot into homes, she said.
“Most families had already retired into houses to sleep when these Fulani gunmen came into the village and were shooting into houses,” John told Morning Star News in Miango town, where she took refuge. “As the herdsmen shot at us, we all ran out from our houses into the surrounding bushes. Some of the herdsmen chased after us and shot at us, while others were burning down our houses.”
Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, director of the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria (ECCVN), confirmed the attack.
“Hura hamlet of Maiyanga village in Kwall District, Miango Chiefdom in Bassa Local Government Area, Plateau state was invaded last night on April 14th by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen, who surrounded the entire area and unleashed mayhem on the unsuspecting natives,” Mwantiri told Morning Star News by text message. “As a result, nine persons were gruesomely killed and two injured while 33 houses were completely torched by fire. Most of the persons killed were children.”
He identified those killed as Angela Daniel, 3; David Yakubu, 15; Luka Magwa, 5; Ishaya Yakubu, 7; Aba Ibrahim, 6; Stephen Ngwe, 7; the pregnant Talatu Daniel, 32, and her unborn child; Sunday Biri, 45; and Izhe Nkama, 43.
Those killed were buried in two separate mass graves, he said. Mwantiri identified the two people wounded as Esther James, 55, and 51-year-old Lami Ibrahim.
“Additionally, over 250 persons, mostly women and children, have been displaced with no means of livelihood,” Mwantiri said.
Miango resident Grace Gye sent a message to the Plateau state government on Wednesday (April 15) decrying the Fulani terrorist onslaught on area Christians and calling on state and federal governments “to protect the people and their property.” She questioned why Fulani herdsmen were moving about freely in spite of a lockdown in the face of the novel coronavirus.
The Rev. Ronku Aka, a former Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) pastor and now community leader of the Irigwe ethnic group, lamented incessant attacks on predominantly Christian communities.
“So many of my people have been killed over the years, including the attack of last night,” he told Morning Star News on Wednesday (April 15). “In spite of promises from the government to my people, the herdsmen have continuously been attacking our communities.”
The attack on Maiyanga comes on the heels of attacks by herdsmen in the area last month. On March 31, Christians were killed at Ancha village; the next day three more Christians were slain in the predominantly Christian community of Nkiedow-hro village, and seven others were killed in Hukke village.
On Jan. 14, 2018, armed herdsmen killed one Christian and wounded two others in an attack on Maiyanga village.
Killing, Kidnapping in Niger State
In northwestern Nigeria, Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Niger state on March 24 killed at least 20 people in two predominantly Christian villages and on March 2 kidnapped eight Christians in raids on a mission station, sources said.
The attacks on the villages of Galkogo and Zumba, killing more than 20 people, displaced 3,000 people, area residents told Morning Star News.
In Niger state’s Shiroro County, Fulani herdsmen raided a school in Maruba run by Calvary Ministries (CAPRO), kidnapping four missionaries, two volunteer staff members, another staff member and one student, according to Niyi Gbade, the ministry’s national director.
“Ask God to release them unharmed now,” Gbade told Morning Star News in a text message.
The school’s head teacher was shot and received hospital treatment, he said.
“Pray for the remaining missionaries on the base, that they will not be kidnapped, and that those being held should be released from any form of captivity,” Gbade said.
Herdsmen also raided Global Glorious Mission in Gofa, Shiroro County, on March 22, forcing missionaries and students to flee into bushes, according to a mission press statement last month.
“The Fulani herdsmen entered, ransacked and looted our Gofa field of Shiroro LGA, Niger and environs,” the statement read. “Some of the brethren have gone back in the night, and some returning this morning. Please stand with us in prayer for God’s intervention over this menace.”
In the past year, armed Fulani herdsmen have carried out a series of raids on Christian communities in the northwest, sending people fleeing to camps for the displaced.
On Jan. 30, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.