In a report by morning star news, a tragic incident occurred in the early hours of Tuesday, October 31, when suspected Fulani herdsmen launched a deadly attack on a village in northern Nigeria, specifically in southern Kaduna state’s Ungwan Baka village, located in Kachia County.
The assailants carried out the attack while the residents were asleep, resulting in the death of one Christian and the injury of two others. Furthermore, 25 individuals were kidnapped during this horrifying assault, according to sources.
Emmanuei Yusuf, a resident of the area, shared, “The Christian villagers were attacked in the early hours of Tuesday. The injured victims are currently being treated in the hospital.” The attack represents yet another episode of violence inflicted upon Christian communities in the Kachia area. Herbert Chindo, another resident, lamented, “This is the third attack on our community. Please pray for us.”
This recent incident adds to a series of troubling events in the region. On April 3, armed assailants targeted the same area and abducted eight Christian girls from the Government Secondary School, a public high school in Awon. Fortunately, these girls were rescued by the military on April 18.
Nigeria has been grappling with escalating violence against Christians, with alarming statistics revealed by Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List. In 2022, Nigeria led the world in terms of Christians killed for their faith, with a staggering 5,014 victims. The country also topped the list for Christians abducted (4,726), sexually assaulted or harassed, forcibly married, and subjected to physical or mental abuse. Moreover, it had the highest number of homes and businesses attacked for faith-based reasons. Furthermore, Nigeria ranked second globally for church attacks and the displacement of its citizens due to religious violence.
In the 2023 World Watch List, which assesses the countries where it is most challenging to practice Christianity, Nigeria’s ranking climbed to sixth place, marking its highest-ever position, up from No. 7 in the previous year. The report highlights the dire situation in the country, noting that “Militants from the Fulani, Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), and others conduct raids on Christian communities, killing, maiming, raping, and kidnapping for ransom or sexual slavery.” This violence has also begun to affect Christian-majority regions in the southern part of the nation.
Despite these alarming trends, Nigeria’s government continues to deny that this is religious persecution, allowing violations of Christians’ rights to persist with impunity.
The Fulani, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel region, encompass various clans and lineages. Notably, most Fulani do not espouse extremist views. However, some elements within the Fulani community adhere to radical Islamist ideology, as highlighted in a 2020 report by the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG).
The APPG report emphasizes that these extremist factions adopt tactics similar to those used by groups like Boko Haram and ISWAP, demonstrating a clear intent to target Christians and symbols of Christian identity. The violence against Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, which includes southern Kaduna state, has been attributed by Christian leaders to a desire to forcefully seize Christian-owned lands and impose Islam. This situation has been exacerbated by challenges related to desertification, making it increasingly difficult for the Fulani to sustain their herds.
The ongoing violence against Christian communities in Nigeria is a deeply concerning issue that requires urgent attention and action. The international community, as well as Nigeria’s government, must take measures to protect the lives and rights of the country’s Christian population, and work toward a peaceful and inclusive coexistence among all its diverse religious and ethnic groups.