Nigeria: Militants burn houses in a Christian village, 10 killed

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Extremists have killed 10 Christians in a predominantly Christian village in Nigeria. Reports emerged that Fulani Islamic herdsmen raided the village of Kwayine, in Adamawa State of Nigeria. At least 10 people were reportedly killed, and several houses were destroyed.

Christians persecuted in Nigeria

International Christian Concern, a persecution watchdog reported that the incident took place on Saturday, January 7. It was reported that the militants also tried to attack the same village on December 31, but the attack was thwarted.

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“The Fulanis came into the village yesterday at about 2:00 p.m. They came upon us suddenly, chased us off, scattered us and burnt our houses. We fled. I barely escaped with my life. Only God knows where some of our people are now. We don’t know what we did to them,” one of the victims said.

The Fulani herdsmen increased attacks on Christians and moderate Muslims throughout last year. Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of the Diocese of Kafanchan said that these disputes were based on farming land conflicts but later evolved into religion based clashes which have evolved into religious hatred.

“In addition to the social and economic issues that have fueled conflict since ancient times, such as the distribution of the land and shortage of grazing, the dimension of the problem has changed,” Bishop Joseph Bagobiri explained.

He went on to explain, “The Fulani are Muslim and the land they are attacking belongs mainly to ethnic groups that are Christian; now there is religious hatred driving the violence.” He said that Fulani attacks have left at least 53 villages burnt down, 808 people have been murdered, and 1,422 houses were torched while 16 churches have been destroyed since September.

Bishop Joseph Bagobiri, further said that Fulani terrorists have gained access to sophisticated weapons such as AK-47s and government is overlooking the conflicts. “The attacks on Christians meet with seeming indifference on the part of the country’s leadership – either the police do not have the appropriate weaponry to intervene, or else they have not been given orders to do so.”

In keeping with International Christian Concern the Nigerian government has refused to designate Fulani group as terrorists, Daniel Harris ICC Regional Manager said that it has now become inevitable to make some changes.

“This is yet another example of the government’s failure to provide adequate protection for Christian communities in this region and refusal to stamp out the radical movements that cause these deadly attacks,” Harris said.

“The government’s refusal to recognize the Fulani militants as what they are, Islamic terrorists, threatens religious freedom and the lives of Christians in this region. We encourage the government of Nigeria to bring these perpetrators of violence to justice and to work harder to protect the lives of Christians in Adamawa State.”

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