JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed four Christians in Kaduna state on Sunday (April 19), a day after an Anglican priest was kidnapped in southern Nigeria, sources said.
Herdsmen attacked Angwan Magaji Kamaru village, near Kamaru in Kauru County, shortly after 6:30 p.m. for two and a half hours without resistance from police or other security personnel, survivor John Asaragi said in a text message.
He identified those killed as Hannatu Joseph, 70, a member of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA); Sunday David, 45, a member of the ECWA; Sarah Sunday 40, a Catholic; and Jummai Sajeh, 75, a Catholic.
“Thirty-eight houses with 86 rooms were also razed down, while about 87 families are affected,” Asaragi told Morning Star News.
Luka Binniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, confirmed the attack and fatalities in a press statement, transliterating the village alternatively as Unguwan Magaji, Kamaru Chawai ward, Kauru Local Government Area (LGA), in southern Kaduna state.
Charred homes from herdsmen attack on Angwan Magaji Kamaru village, Kaduna state, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)
“The invaders who came by at 6:45 p.m. from behind the hills that serve as the boundary of Kaduna state and Ganawuri, Plateau state, numbered over a 100,” Binniyat said. “They attacked from four flanks, causing confusion and pandemonium among unsuspecting villagers as village youths tried to fend them off.”
Four people were killed, Binniyat said, identifying them with some variation in the ages of three and the name of one: Hannatu Joseph, a 58-year-old mother of five children; Sarah Sunday, 40, mother of six; Sunday David, 47-year-old civil servant and father of seven children; and Dije Sajay, 55-year-old mother of six children.
One of the assailants also was apparently killed as the local youths tried to put up a defense. Binniyat said police and soldiers found the corpse of the unidentified assailant on Monday morning (April 20) and took it away. Area residents had already recovered the assailant’s mobile phone and turned it over to police in hopes that it would reveal information useful for bringing the assailants to justice, he said.
The herdsmen targeted stores of food and grains, burning as much as they could, Binniyat said.
“This is to ostensibly cause starvation, especially under this lockdown from the coronavirus,” he said. “So far, about 320 persons have been displaced from the attack and are in dire need of assistance.”
Earlier this month, he said, herdsmen also killed 42-year-old Ibrahim Atiga of Angwan Magaji Kamaru while he was on his way to his farm. Binniyat added that herdsmen also attacked Angwan Magaji Kamaru five years ago.
“On Nov. 13, 2015, armed herdsmen carried out coordinated attacks on Unguwan Magaji and five other neighboring villages in which 37 persons were killed, 202 homes razed and the only church, a Catholic church, was burned down,” Binniyat said.
Priest, Parishioner Kidnapped
In southern Nigeria’s Delta state, a priest the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, and another member of his parish were kidnapped on Saturday (April 18) by armed men identified as Fulani herdsmen, residents told Morning Star News in text messages.
They were reportedly released the next day after a ransom was paid.
The Rev. Anthony Oyi was abducted along with his wife, children and the parishioner at about 8 a.m. as they worked on his farm at Issele-Mkpitime village, Aniocha North County. Area residents Paul Osa and Moses Darah told Morning Star News that the priest’s wife and children were released three hours later after being told to raise ransom money for the clergyman and parishioner.
The Delta State Police Command confirmed the kidnapping, and the Sun newspaper reported both captives were freed on Sunday evening (April 19) after the priest’s family paid a ransom.
The kidnapping comes on the heels of the killing of another pastor in Delta state, the Rev. Stephen Akpor, on April 10. Pastor of the Celestial Church of Christ’s Breakthrough Cathedral in Ibusa, Pastor Akpor was killed by armed herdsmen while praying and counseling at his church site.
In the predominantly Christian Oshimili South County of Delta state, herdsmen killed Christian farmer Austine Nwaeke in the agrarian community of Albert Camp at about 3 a.m. on April 9, according to police. He left behind his wife, Jennifer Austine Nwaeke, and two children.
The Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria has seen its priests kidnapped on several occasions in Delta state. On Nov. 7, 2018, armed Fulani herdsmen kidnapped four Catholic priests at Abraka, in Ethiope East County. The priests were later released.
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.