A gang of 20 armed Fulani Muslim herdsmen attacked the predominantly Christian village of Kulben in Central Nigeria on January 8th, killing 13 and wounding three, according to Morning Star News. All of the victims were members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN).
"They were shooting with guns in all directions, forcing the villagers to scamper into surrounding bushes," area resident Michael Mutding, 40, told Morning Star News in a text message. "Corpses of those killed have been evacuated by soldiers and police to the mortuary of Mangu Cottage Hospital, and all the victims are members of COCIN."
Audu Tetmut, a 60-year-old area leader of the Christian community, said there had never been any problem between his people and herdsmen living in the area.
"Our community had lived peacefully with the herdsmen without any issues of dispute with them," Tetmut told Morning Star News. "So we are surprised that they attacked us."
The attack came despite efforts by security services to prevent it and others like it from happening.
"This attack on my people by these herdsmen comes as a rude shock to us, as efforts have been made by security agencies to curtail such incessant attacks on our people," Assembly legislator Bala Fwengje said in a statement. "It is a sad thing that these attacks are still being carried out by the herdsmen on our people without provocation."
This attack on Nigerian Christians is just one in a long line of murders of Christian believers there. Last year (2019) some 1,000 Nigerian Christians were murdered for their faith. The Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), headed up by a member of the British House of Lords, Baroness Cox, estimates that 6,000 Christians in Nigeria have been murdered since 2015, according to an earlier report by CBN News.
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One Nigerian pastor said brutal attacks at the hands of Islamic fighters were becoming a daily occurrence. "Every day we carry new corpses to the cemetery," he explained. "They kill farmers. They destroy our homes and churches. They kidnap and rape women."
Just in December, a faction of the terror group known as Boko Haram released a video of Muslim terrorists executing 11 Nigerians whom they said were Christians. The 56-second video shows the captives in orange tunics, kneeling as the terrorists stand behind them. One captive is shot in the head, and the terrorists then slash the throats of the 10 others.
In a video message said to be "to the Christians in the world," the terrorists said the executions were in retaliation for US raids in Syria in October that killed Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his likely successor.
After witnessing attacks and carnage first-hand, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy "issued an SOS" for Christians in Nigeria, asking, "Will history be repeated in Nigeria?" referring to the Rwandan genocide of 1994 in an article for the French magazine Paris Match.
"Will we wait, as usual, for the disaster to be consumed in order to be moved? And will we remain idly by while the Islamist international, contained in Asia, fought in Europe, defeated in Syria and Iraq, opens a new front on this immense land where the sons of Abraham coexisted for a long time? This is what is at stake on this journey to the heart of the Nigerian darkness."
In his article, Lévy interviews a young female Christian evangelist named Jumai Victor, who is missing an arm. The Fulanis came into her town at night on motorcycles, shouting "Allahu akbar!" and butchered her three children with machetes, then stretched out her arm and chopped her hand until all that was left was a single exposed bone. She was five months pregnant at the time, and because of the attack, she lost her baby. Her story is featured in a traveling exhibit by Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) titled "Warfare on Women."
Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) is a bipartisan, multi-faith coalition of nearly 200 civic, faith, and community leaders who pray and advocate for the more than 300 million persecuted Christians around the world. STPC is calling for a US special envoy to be sent to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region because of the extreme violence against Christians there.
"What is afoot in Nigeria is jihad," said STPC President and CEO Frank Gaffney. "It's a concerted, systematic, organized and increasingly genocidal effort to remove from Nigeria – and most especially from the areas of Nigeria that are resource-rich – Christians who are by definition under the Sharia...seen as enemies of Islam and people that can be eliminated or otherwise removed at will."
Gaffney says it's not just a conflict between farmers and herdsmen, as some naively would like to believe, but an Islamic war being waged against Christians in Nigeria. He says the persecutors must be held accountable, as well as those who enable them.
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors' 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.