Bloody Sunday Night: 44 Christians Killed by Militant Fulani

09/28/2021 Nigeria (International Christian Concern)Forty-four Christians have been confirmed killed in coordinated nighttime attacks on Sunday, September 26 in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Communities in Madamai and Abun communities under Malagun in Kaura local government area of Kaduna state were among those attacked. ICC contacts personally counted thirty bodies.

Gunmen also attacked a church in Kachia District on Sunday, killing one worshiper and seriously wounding several others. In total, three separate communities were attacked that evening. Government troops did respond, coming under fire before successfully pushing the attackers out of the villages.

In March 2014, over 200 people were killed when three villages were attacked by suspected Fulani militants in Bondong District of Kaura local government area of Kaduna state.

“What happened last night in my dear village of Madamai in Kagoro chiefdom was an inhuman attack,” said Awan Nehemiah, a local. “The attackers killed more than thirty persons and wounded more who are still in the hospital.” Speaking on the issue of motivation, Nehemiah continued: “The question is what crime they have committed. We are Christian. Why are all attacks found in the southern part of the state? Why not the northern part? This very clearly a religious fight. The government we voted for have totally failed in their promise to stop the killings.”

Steven Kefas, another local, told ICC about his memories of the event. “I got a call from Madamai at about 6pm that they were under terrorist herdsmen attack. Same was going on in neighboring Abun community in Malagun District. My mood changed immediately because I knew it was going to be a long evening. At about 8pm or thereabout I called back and they said the terrorists have left the communities. What was left is for my people to begin to count their losses.”

The dead bodies were mostly women and children, “slaughtered like rams to be used for barbecue,” as one witness put it. Some are still missing. The attack came at a time of relative peace in Kajuru, Chikun, Jema’a, Kauru, and even Zango Kataf which have all sustained serious attacks in recent years, including while under government-mandated curfew.

“The Kaduna state government will definitely issue a statement of condemnation as usual,” Kefas said.
“What next? We will move on to wait for the next community to be attacked and then we wail again. The cycle goes on and on… We must continue to call on those who swore to protect us to live up to their responsibilities. May the souls of the over thirty people slaughtered in Malagun rest in peace with the Lord.”

As expected, Kaduna State Security Commissioner Samuel Aruwan did issue a statement on the attacks on Monday. In his remarks he highlighted the government’s military response to the attacks which, though tardy, did likely save lives. Two suspects are being questioned in connection to the attacks, he said.

1,900 civilians and government employees were killed by Boko Haram and Fulani militants in 2020 alone, according to ICC analysis of the situation. Much of the violence is concentrated in Christian-majority areas of the Middle Belt region.

ICC’s analysis shows that the majority of civilian and government deaths in 2020 happened at the hands of Fulani militants rather than Boko Haram terrorists or bandits. Despite this fact, the government of Nigeria continues to largely ignore the Fulani crisis in favor of the more easily-defined terrorist threat posed by Boko Haram and the simpler criminal threat posed by vaguely-defined bandits.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently issued a report in April recommending that the Department of State designate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its severe violations of religious freedom.

USCIRF made the same recommendation in last year’s report, which State did follow in a December 2, 2020 announcement that condemned Nigeria for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” However, the designation was largely undermined by a waiver of the sanctions that normally would have accompanied the CPC designation.

The United States and others in the international community must increase the pressure on Nigeria to effectively address the problems it is facing. Ransom payments or not, the authorities should tirelessly pursue bandits, Islamist terrorists, and violent Fulani militants in the pursuit of justice.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: press@persecution.org.

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