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03/23/2023 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The focal point for the Christmas Day service was supposed to be about the birth of our Lord and Savior. But the morning quickly took a turn for the worse when radical Fulani militants stormed the service with echoes of gunshots and screams in Angwan Aku Village in Kaduna state.

“The church worship service was about to commence when the attackers arrived at the village riding on motorbikes and shooting sporadically,” a resident who witnessed the attack said.

Fulani militants killed one Christian and kidnapped 53 other Christians who, at the time of writing this article, are still held captive.

“Family life has been disrupted; the lucky survivors have become refugees in their land waiting for palliatives in an endless genocide they can’t understand,” continued the witness. “Mass graves litter the community and countryside. Our people can no longer go to their farms for fear of being gunned down or macheted.”

TARGET ON THEIR BACKS

The fear of Fulani militants runs deep in many northern Nigerian villages. The attackers are ruthless and will destroy property, kidnap indiscriminately, and kill anyone they deem.

Christian women, especially Christian girls, have a tremendous target on their backs. Terrorists, like the Fulani militants and Boko Haram, target schools and villages and kidnap young girls to convert to Islam. Women are viewed as the source of the next generation – those who birth and care for the children in the community. Because of this, they are kidnapped, converted to Islam, and sold as brides for militant leaders to use to raise their own generation.

Their one evil goal is to stop Christianity at its source.

MOTHER TAKES A STAND

Fulani militants attempted to rape a 16-year-old Christian girl one morning while she was walking with her mother to their farmland in Nkiendonwro village, roughly 20 miles from Jos, the capital of Plateau state.

An ICC contact visited the family after the attack and spoke with the victims. “They told us to stop,” said the girl’s mother. “Then the Fulani [militants] beat me and injured me… I was trying to stop them from raping my daughter.” As she spoke, the mother kept her arm raised, revealing a deep gash she suffered from the militants.

The woman explained that the Fulani militants had seized her land and burned down her house in 2017, forcing her and her family to move closer to the city for their safety. No longer having their farmland has caused the family of seven to fall into deep poverty, where they currently live and sleep in a one-room home.

ICC INTERVENES

ICC’s contact in Nigeria did not speak to the minor, as she was traumatized and crying throughout the visit. The mother said God used her to protect her daughter from public disgrace and shame, which is often how victims of rape are viewed in their society.

“I have nothing to say but thank God,” said the mother. “Please tell Christians to pray for me and my daughter. Pray that we will return to our village one day because life is too expensive for us in the city.”

Nkiendonwro village was deserted in 2017 after 29 Christians were killed by Fulani militants in a classroom massacre. Since then, the militants have occupied the land, and Christians don’t have access to their farms and homes despite a series of peace meetings with the Fulani leaders. Out of desperation, many villagers try to return to their farmlands to retrieve resources, such as firewood, for survival.

ICC helped the family with financial assistance and provided housing and a small business startup.

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