Date: September 10, 2023
Others wounded, six kidnapped in attack.
By Our Nigeria Correspondent
Taraba state, Nigeria. (Profoss Uwe Dedering, Creative Commons)
ABUJA, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Terrorists entering a town in Taraba state, Nigeria at about 2 a.m. on Sunday (Sept. 10) killed two Christians, wounded several others and kidnapped six people, sources said.
“Six Christians were kidnapped by terrorists in the Mile Six area of Jalingo,” area resident Emmanuel Moses told Morning Star News in a text message. “These terrorists, too, killed two Christians, one Balanko Alex and his wife, while many other Christians were injured during the attack.”
John Hussaini, another resident of the area, stated the same information, adding that on Friday (Sept. 8) two other Christians were kidnapped on Takum Road between Manya and Gangum.
Abdullahi Usman, spokesman for the Taraba State Police Command, confirmed the killing of the couple on Sunday (Sept. 10) and the kidnappings.
“The gunmen gained access to the house of the victims scaling over the fence,” Usman said in a press statement. “They killed the owner of the house, Balanko Alex, and his wife, and kidnapped other persons. The police command has put in place mechanisms to fast-track the arrest of the bandits and kidnappers.”
Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists on June 25 killed 20 Christians in Taraba state’s town of Takum.
Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith in 2022, with 5,014, according to Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List (WWL) report. It also led the world in Christians abducted (4,726), sexually assaulted or harassed, forcibly married or physically or mentally abused, and it had the most homes and businesses attacked for faith-based reasons. As in the previous year, Nigeria had the second most church attacks and internally displaced people.
In the 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to sixth place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 7 the previous year.
“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,” the WWL report noted. “This year has also seen this violence spill over into the Christian-majority south of the nation… Nigeria’s government continues to deny this is religious persecution, so violations of Christians’ rights are carried out with impunity.”
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 2020 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.