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08/18/2021 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – 12-year-old Rejoice Moses was the first to see the attackers making their way to Kagoro community, Nigeria, during the early hours of Sunday, August 15th. The young girl told ICC that she had climbed up a hill that morning to use the restroom, when suddenly she looked into the distance and saw a group of men dressed in all black.

Some were wearing Red caps and others Black caps, with guns,” she said. Rejoice immediately began to run for her life and alert the villagers of the pending attack. The gunmen noticed her and began to shoot, but despite being hit, the young hero continued to run through the pain and notify the village. She sustained multiple gunshot wounds before reuniting with her mother.

 “We hid and were hearing from the attackers who were passing by very close,” Rejoice narrated,  “they were speaking Fulani and some were extremely tall while some were short. They were shooting sporadically, burning down houses.”

At least five were killed that day in Plateau State’s Madamai village, while many others were injured. In addition, several homes and a church were completely destroyed by fire.

4-year-old Rejoice Monday was also a victim of the attack and sustained a deep laceration from a machete, as well as multiple bullet wounds. While she narrowly survived, she lost her mother, who was murdered in the attack.

Emmanuel Nache, 56, ran into the bush in an effort to escape the gunshots, however she was also hit and is in need of urgent surgery after sustaining a gunshot to her right radius.

27 year old Abraham Ishaya informed ICC that his house was burned down in the attack, and he also sustained a bullet wound in his thigh.

“Any help would be very important as they can’t afford the huge medical bills,” said Derek Christopher, leader of Kaura Youths in Southern Kaduna. “The government has abandoned us because of our faith.”

The Fulani are a migrant herder people group who span much of Sub-Saharan Africa. They are about 90% Muslim and, though most Fulani are peaceful people, some have become radicalized by Islamic extremist groups. These violent groups, identified by ICC as Fulani militants, have wreaked havoc and destruction among Christian villages throughout Nigeria’s North and Middle Belt for many years.

The mainstream media has tried to portray Fulani violence as back-and-forth exchanges between herders and farmers, under-emphasizing the roll that religious motivations enter into the attackers’ calculus. While environmental push factors and economic, ethnic, and political motives certainly play a role in Fulani territorial conquest, lost in the discussion is the reality that Christian communities are primarily targeted, and survivors’ descriptions of attacks consistently reveal scenes that suggest jihadist elements.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, states, “these barbaric and devastating attacks must be stopped. The loss of so many lives with no support or aid from the government means that violent attackers are likely to continue their violence. The Nigerian government must figure out a way to stop these attacks quicker and then must severely punish those who commit these atrocities.”

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected]