Date:  October 31, 2023

Slaughters continue in central part of the country.

By Our Nigeria Correspondent

Benue River in Makurdi, Benue state, Nigeria. (Bandele Femi, Ashinze, Creative Commons)

Benue River in Makurdi, Benue state, Nigeria. (Bandele Femi, Ashinze, Creative Commons)

ABUJA, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists on Sunday (Oct. 29) killed six Christians in Benue state, following the slaughter of 10 others earlier this month, sources said.

In Tse Gamber village, Gwer West County, the assailants early on Sunday killed three Christians and kidnapped another, said area resident Perver Acham. He identified the kidnapped Christian as Iorhon Dam.

Acham said three other Christians were slain in Ngai village at about the same time.

Also in Gwer West County, herdsmen and other terrorists on Oct. 23 killed three Christians in Agagbe village, said area resident Terna Jacob, who identified them as Iorhemba Cletus, 37; Akaa Clifford, 50; and Igbahemba Abua, 55.

“They were ambushed and killed by the terrorists,” Jacob said in a text message to Morning Star News.

Another Christian in Benue state was killed after being kidnapped in September. A family member of 80-year-old Washima Erukaa, a Christian official of the Ukum Local Government Council who had been kidnapped from his home in Zakibiam on Sept. 23, said they learned on Sunday (Oct. 29) that he had been killed on Oct. 23 because relatives were unable to pay the demanded ransom amount.

“His captors had demanded that we pay a ransom of 5 million naira (US$6,340), but we were not able to raise the money,” said the relative on condition of anonymity. “However, on Oct. 29, they contacted us by phone and said our father had been killed and buried by them.”

Fulani herdsmen on Oct. 14 also attacked Imatom village in Logo County, killing three Christians at about 9 p.m., said resident resident Anawa Joseph. He identified the slain as Tertsea Terkimbi Adagundu, Tertsea Mkposu and Mimidoo Umburga.

“Their corpses were taken to NKST Church hospital morgue, at Anyiin town,” Joseph said.

Residents said all the victims were members of NKST congregations in their respective communities.

In Guma County, terrorists on the night of Oct. 5 attacked Daudu town killing three Christians, residents said.

“These attacks have been carried out on several communities, but the police and other security agencies are working towards containing the situation,” police spokesperson Catherine Anene told Morning Star News in a text message. “Not even my village and relatives have been spared in these attacks.”

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.