Fulani herdsmen killed a pastor last Thursday in Kaduna state, Nigeria, two weeks after terrorists killed a Baptist pastor’s son in the same state, sources said.
The Rev. Musa Mairimi of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Buda 2 village, near Kasuwan Magani in Kajuru County, was killed in his home and his wife kidnapped, said the chairman of the Kaduna state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Rev. Joseph Hayab.
“The herdsmen and terrorists invaded the community on Thursday, March 23, and killed the pastor in his house,” Hayab said. “His wife was taken into captivity at gunpoint.”
Hayab said that more than 100 Christians have been kidnapped in Kaduna state’s Kauru, Jaba, Kachia, Kagarko and Kajuru counties.
“Who will we cry to and who will we run to for help except God?” he said. “Imagine that since the carnage of kidnapping of Christians started in Kaduna state, no arrests have been made.”
Area resident Istifanus Ma’aji requested prayer.
“Let us pray for the safe return of the wife, the pastor, and other Christians taken captive by the herdsmen and bandits,” Ma’aji said.
Pastor’s son killed
In Kaduna state’s Karimbu-Kahugu village, Lere County, terrorists on March 10 broke into the home of Baptist Pastor Dadi Babas at 1 a.m., killed his son and kidnapped his wife and three other family members while the pastor was attending the funeral of this brother in Bauchi state, he said.
Pastor Babas said in a text message that he was informed of the attack at 4 a.m. and that his wife has been released.
“My son was brutally killed by the terrorists, while my wife, my daughter-in-law, who is nursing a baby, and two other members of my family were kidnapped,” he said. “As I send this message, three members of my family remain in captivity with the bandits, while my wife was abandoned by the terrorists because of her illness.”
He said the terrorists are demanding a ransom of 5 million naira ($10,841) for the release of his remaining family members.
Peter Mukaddas, vice chairman of the Kahugu National Development Association, identified the assailants as “Muslim bandits.”
“We are fervently praying to God to touch the hearts of the terrorists so that they can release the Christians,” Mukaddas said in a text message.
Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith in 2022, with 5,014, according to Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List report. It also led the world in Christians abducted (4,726), sexually assaulted or harassed, forcibly married or physically or mentally abused, and it had the most homes and businesses attacked for faith-based reasons. As in the previous year, Nigeria had the second most church attacks and internally displaced people.
In the 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to sixth place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 7 the previous year.
“Militants from the Fulani, Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and others conduct raids on Christian communities, killing, maiming, raping and kidnapping for ransom or sexual slavery,” the WWL report noted. “This year has also seen this violence spill over into the Christian-majority south of the nation. … Nigeria’s government continues to deny this is religious persecution, so violations of Christians’ rights are carried out with impunity.”
Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.
“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.
Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.
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