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'Nothing Short of a Massacre': 33 Christians Murdered, 5,000 Nigerian Christians Slaughtered in 2022


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Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists murdered 33 Christians in an attack Saturday night through the early hours of Sunday in Kaduna state, Nigeria.

Area residents said the Islamic group, alongside other armed terrorists, invaded the predominantly Christian Runji village, in Zangon Kataf County, at about 10:00 pm Saturday, according to Morning Star News

"Please pray for us. It's a black Sunday, as 33 Christians were killed by herdsmen and terrorists in the early hours of Sunday, 16 April," area resident Mugu Zakka Bako said in a text message to Morning Star. "They were also buried today, Monday, 17 April."

The Rev. Jacob Kwashi, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Zonkwa, Kaduna state, presided over the mass burial of the Christians.

"In the past seven and half years, we in southern Kaduna have seen the handiwork of the evil ones who have decided that they'll keep releasing evil on us in our land until we don't know when they'll stop," Kashi told Morning Star. "It has always been obvious and clear that the government is capable and able to stop this evil, be it the government of Kaduna state or the government of Nigeria, they're capable, they're able to stop this evil, but the truth is that, are they ready and willing to stop this evil?"

slider img 2The Rev. Bauta Motty, a Christian leader from southern Kaduna state and a former general secretary of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), said in a statement that the attack on Runji village was the third against Christians there in the past week. He said the attack on Runji left many others wounded and burned many houses; published reports cited a government official as saying 40 homes were destroyed.

"Before then, two Christians were killed four days earlier in that same village," Motty said. "This is beside the 17 Christians that were killed four days ago at Atak Njei village."

Area resident Grace Bamaiyi said almost half the village's houses were burned. 

Another resident, John Kantiyok, described the attack as a massacre, according to Morning Star

"Let's pray for Runji village in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, which came under heavy attack on Sunday night," Kantiyok said in a text message to the outlet. "Many Christians are feared killed, and almost half of the houses in the village have been burnt and destroyed. It is nothing short of a massacre."

Francis Sani, a council official of Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, confirmed in a statement that 33 Christians were killed in the attack. 

"The attackers in their numbers maimed and burned mostly women and children, set houses ablaze, and raided several houses within the community, leaving an aftermath of gruesome murder of 33 people," Sani said. "We are devastated and shocked by the level of carnage and mindless bloodletting."

Samuel Aruwan, a Kaduna state government spokesman, said troops "had a fierce encounter with the attackers and are still in the general area."

"While waiting for a detailed report, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai, who received the preliminary report in the early hours of Sunday, has condemned the killings as unacceptable and unjustifiable," Aruwan said. "The governor condoled the families that lost their loved ones and prayed for the repose of the victims' souls. He also prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured."

More Than 1,000 Christians Slaughtered so far in 2023

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), a Christian watchdog group, said 1,041 Nigerians have been killed for following Jesus Christ in the first 100 days of 2023.  The organization blamed the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and other Jihadists' genocidal attacks for the deaths.

Over 5,000 Christians Murdered in 2022

In 2022, 5,028 Nigerian citizens were killed for being Christians, according to Intersociety. 

The Fulani herdsmen, also known as the Fulani militia, are often radical Muslims who target Christians in their relentless attacks on villages across the West African country.

"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 United Kingdom's All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief said in a recent report

They were early adopters of Islam, participating in "holy wars", or jihads, in the 16th century that established them as a dominant social and economic force in Western Africa, according to WorldWatch Monitor.

Nigeria currently ranks as No. 6 on the Open Doors' 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country jumped to sixth place, its highest-ever ranking on the list, from No. 7 last year. 

"Persecution is most severe and most prevalent in the north, where militant groups such as Boko Haram, ISWAP and Fulani militants seem to increasingly work together against Christians, and against Muslims who don't support their agenda. The raids on Christian communities, and other forms of violence, lead to large numbers of Christians (and other Nigerians) being forced to live in camps for internally displaced people," the Open Doors World Watch List said. 

"Women and children are particularly vulnerable in these camps. Children suffer health issues, and women and girls are vulnerable to human trafficking," the List noted. 

"Violence remains the most dangerous and prevalent threat in Nigeria. Christians continue to be attacked indiscriminately and brutally in northern Nigeria, and the violence has now spread to southern Nigeria. Fulani militants and 'bandits' have settled in southern forests, making access to farmlands increasingly difficult for Christian farmers. These militants pose a significant threat to Christian women and girls, who may be subjected to sexual harassment and forced marriage," the List continued. 

"Abductions for ransom have increased considerably over recent years, including the abduction of church leaders," the List said.

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