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04/28/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – “Twenty-one Christian farmers were killed by Fulani militants in four different villages of Kauru local government in Kaduna State,” locals told ICC. The attackers came around 4:00pm local time on April 26. “The militants killed Irigwe Christians and burnt houses and a church,” Ezekiel Bini—a tribal leader—told ICC.

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, a Fulani Muslim himself, keeps silent over the killings and does not seem to want the persecution happening in his state to be reported on. Journalists Luka Biniyat and Steven Kefas were arrested and imprisoned for reporting on the persecution of Christians in Kaduna State.

A local from Kauru told ICC that the militants attacked four villages. They arrived in the late afternoon while Nigerian army arrived around 9pm after the militants left. “The militant first attacked Agwan Rimi village,” he said. “There they killed twelve. Three are still missing and two survived with bullet wounds. From there, the militants entered Angwa Makera village. Houses were burnt, but nobody was killed. That village suffered much damage and one received bullet wounds.

“From there, the militants went to Kitakun village and burnt houses and destroyed the church. One person was killed in Kitakun. Agwan Magaji village was the last to be attacked that night. There the militants killed six. Three people survived bullet gunshots.” He told ICC that Fulani militants have attacked their community repeatedly since 2016. In that time, he said, his area has lost over 600 people and many more houses burnt.

He told ICC that over a thousand people are displaced to two different IDP camps in Kwall District in neighboring Plateau State.

Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State has a long history of endangering Christian areas by placing them under extended lockdowns, or community-wide house arrest, which leads to attacks. For example, on February 21, 2017, he placed the Jema’a and Kaura LGAs into lockdown despite local leaders’ protests that the lockdown made them more vulnerable. The area experienced severe attacks following the lockdown order. A 24-hour lockdown was again imposed in October of 2018, following sectarian violence in Kasuwan Magani.

El-Rufai has a long history of fueling religious tension. He even claimed, in a tweet posted on September 8, 2014, that Christians were behind Boko Haram, funding and controlling it “to tarnish the name of Islam.” In his tweet, he specifically accused the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other Christians of being behind specific church bombings and shootings. Far from a front for CAN, Boko Haram is an Islamist terror group with strong ties to Islamic State.

In the days leading up to his 2019 reelection, El-Rufai whipped up public anger and physical violence when he falsely claimed that 130 Fulani had been killed in Kajuru, a locality near the capitol city of Kaduna. The Fulani are a Muslim-majority ethnic group. Many, including the National Emergency Management Agency and El Rufai’s own Commissioner of Police denied his claims of an attack on the Fulani. In fact, eleven native Catholics were killed in Kajuru a few days before his comments. Suspected Fulani militants killed 127 people in Kajuru in what were presumably reprisal attacks in the month following El Rufai’s statement.

In 2012, El-Rufai threatened anyone who might challenge the Fulani, even in the line of military duty. “We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan payable one day no matter how long it takes,” he tweeted. When he took office as governor in 2015, he said that “the Fulani have nothing to fear, since a Fulani [is] now governor of the state.”

ICC urges the United States to sanction El-Rufai and his family in response to his severe persecution of Christians in Kaduna State. In an recent report, ICC highlighted the danger that El-Rufai poses to Christian communities in his state and shone a light on his extravagant, wealthy lifestyle and  worldwide travel.

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