Nigeria: Terrorists Kill More than 60 Christians in Benue State

April 4, 2023

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“Terrorists Kill More than 60 Christians in Benue State, Nigeria,” Morning Star News, April 3, 2023:

ABUJA, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen on Saturday (April 1) killed at least seven Christians in Benue state, Nigeria, bringing the total to more than 60 villagers slain in the past month, sources said.

Assailants killed a Christian in an attack on a worship meeting Saturday night (April 1) in Logo County, sources said, after at least six Christians in Apa County were killed earlier in the day, said Ikobi, Apa County resident Sunday Ojo in a text message that day.

“Ikobi village, a Christian community, is currently under attack by Fulani herdsmen,” Ojo said. “Several houses have been razed, while more than six Christians have been killed by the attackers. Christians in Apa Local Government Area need your prayers.”

Edward Lucky, another resident, said in a text message “Christian villages in Apa Local Government Area are under attack. Many Christians have been displaced by the armed herdsmen. These attacks have forced Christians to abandon their farms. There has been no government intervention in order to stem these attacks.”

In Benue state’s Logo County on Saturday night, Fulani herdsmen invaded a church service at about 9 p.m., killed one Christian, wounded five others and kidnapped the pastor and four other congregation members, sources said.

“Muslim Fulani herdsmen have launched an attack on Christians who were worshipping at a Pentecostal church in Akenawe, Tswarev village in Logo Local Government Area,” area resident Uzer Moses said in a text message to Morning Star News on Sunday (April 2). “A member, Mr. Orolumunga Changogi, was shot to death by the herdsmen, while the pastor of the church, the Rev. Gwadue Kwaghtyo alongside four others were captured and taken away to an unknown place.”

Five other church members were shot and wounded and were receiving hospital treatment, Moses said. Community leader Zaki Tyokase Ingyutu was among Christians shot and injured during the attack, he said.

Other sources confirmed the assault, including Hemen Terkimbi, a Christian community leader in the area. He said the federal government needs to curtail such unprovoked terrorist acts by herdsmen in Benue state.

“This attack on defenseless Christians who were in a worship service is callous,” Terkimbi said. “This act is condemnable, and there’s no moral justification for it.”

Days prior to attacks on Logo and Apa counties, herdsmen attacked Agatu County.

“The Fulanis attacked Atakpa village, a Christian community in Agatu Local Government Area, where they killed more than six Christians and wounded dozens of them,” said John Ikwulono, former council official of the Agatu LGA, in a text message to Morning Star News. “Aside from invading Atakpa village, the herdsmen also invaded Okpagabi village, where they shot and injured many Christians. Some of these Christian victims are currently receiving treatment in some hospitals here.”

Paul Hemba, special adviser on security matters to the Benue state governor, said large groups of armed terrorists and herdsmen recently carried out massive attacks in the state.

“In the last few days we have been receiving reports of large influx of armed herdsmen into Apa, Agatu, Guma and Kwande Local Government Areas,” Hemba said. “These attacks on Christian communities by herdsmen have persisted ceaselessly. This has been happening for some time, but military and police personnel drafted to curtail these terrorist acts have not been able to achieve their objective. The armed herdsmen have been coming for attacks, and each time they are repelled and after some days they come back again.”…

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 recent 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.