In the midst of recent acts of violence by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria, 37 more Christians were killed in Kaduna state so far this month, sources said.
Following the slaughter of 33 Christians in Zangon Kataf County in early August, Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Kachia County on Monday (Aug. 17) killed four Christians and kidnapped their driver, Danlami Dariya, as their vehicle made its way from Katul village.
This was confirmed by local resident Zephaniah Bature. He also said :
“Four of the Christians inside the car were killed instantly,” “The driver was kidnapped by the herdsmen, and among those killed are three men and an old woman.”
Muslim Fulani herdsmen also attacked Kachia County’s Bugai village, Kaduna on Sunday August 16, according to area resident Mamman Danbaba.
According to him,:
“There was yet another attack by Fulani herdsmen at about 8 p.m.” . “Many lives were lost, and many Christians were injured. Houses and properties burned.”
Fulani herdsmen have increasingly adopted ideology and methods similar to Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram, and some come from outside Nigeria.
In a Friday August 14 news publication, Nigerian columnist Akin Osuntokun of ThisDay, wrote :
“Today, a new breed of herdsman has emerged: an aggressive and murderous terrorist bearing sophisticated firearms such as AK-47s and even rocket launchers,”.
“And they become the mobile avant-garde army of political Islam in Nigeria. Given the country’s porous borders, many of them are recent immigrants from neighboring countries.
Herdsmen from Niger, Chad and Mali can walk across the border and immediately lay claim to all the sacrosanct rights appertaining to bona fide Nigerian nationals.”
Luka Binniyat, spokesman of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), reported that Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 33 Christians in five villages of Zangon Kataf on August 5.
He said :
“The armed Fulani herdsmen stormed Apiashyim and Kibori villages. They lay siege to Apyaishyim, killing, looting and burning houses.
In the wake of the cruelty, they left six Christians dead and 20 houses burnt,” Binniyat said in a press statement.
“In nearby Kibori village, seven Christians were killed by the marauding Fulani herdsmen.”
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.
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.