Christian Villagers Worship for the First Time After Being Displaced by Fulani Militants

10/27/2021 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – It was a bright, sunny morning as 111 Christian men, women, and children of Nzhweruvo village gathered to worship at the burnt remains of the Evangelical Church Winning All Nzhweruvo. Located in the Middle Belt of Nigeria about 27 kilometers northwest of Jos, the Plateau State capital, this church was attacked and burned to the ground earlier this year during a series of attacks that lasted from June 15 to August 4.

The residents’ pastor, Reverend Gayus Kwa Kese, read from the Ezra 3:10-13, encouraging the Christian faithful during the sermon to “come back home by God’s grace.” In his sermon, Pastor Kese urged the people come back, rebuild their houses, and restore the church.

Sunday Ki, the community leader, told ICC that his community needs help. The government has failed them for years, he said, and left them to the mercy of gunmen. Speaking with anger, the community leader said that if Christians in the diaspora do not help them Fulani will soon overcome them and capture their land.

During the attacks this summer, Fulani militants attacked the Nzhweruvo village and the surrounding area mercilessly. The Fulani militants went from house to house, setting each on fire, until they had torched more than fifty houses in the hamlet holding approximately 600 residents. Government security did not appear for about four hours.

In total, the Fulani militants displaced over 600 church members and killed 67, locals told ICC after the recent church service.

An ICC contact recently explored the community and saw burnt houses, destroyed food stores, and torched business centers.

Pastor Kese told ICC that the Nigeria law enforcement system and the judiciary favors Fulani militants. He urged the authorities to arrest Fulani militants and stop the killings so his people could enjoy freedom of worship.

The Fulani, who mostly practice Islam, are one of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups. While many are nomads, many prominent Nigerians—including President Muhammadu Buhari—are Fulani.

Celina Ishaku a widow, whose husband, and son were killed by Fulani, said she was glad to attend the recent church service in Nzhweruvo village. She told ICC that she wishes to go back to her original home but she lost everything and Fulani seized her farm. She pleaded for assistance for her devastated community.

“Fulani Muslims are killing us because of our faith,” said Pastor Kese. He told Christians in the church not to give up on their faith and to be ready to die for Christ’s sake. He pleaded with Christians in the diaspora to show concern and rebuild their church.

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

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