Muslim Fulani herdsmen kill more than 40 Christians in latest massacre in Nigeria

Muslim Fulani herdsmen have massacred more than 40 Christians in the northern region of Nigeria just weeks after they killed eight in a separate attack, according to area leaders.

(Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)Fulani herdsmen pose for a picture in Zango, Zango-kataf local govt, Kaduna State March 22, 2014.

In the afternoon of Oct. 15, Muslim Fulani herdsmen launched a savage attack in the predominantly Christian town of Godogodo in Kaduna state. Rev. Thomas Akut of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Good News Church told Morning Star News that the attackers torched down their houses and shot local Christians.

In addition, the 41-year-old pastor said his family was able to escape harm and that they slept on the ground outside Godogodo. He initially saw 22 dead but figured that the actual number of fatalities may be higher because there were others who were killed in the bushes.

"We fled into the bushes, and some of us escaped to safer areas. The attackers were in the hundreds and were well armed. Some of them wore army uniforms, while others wore police uniforms," Rev. Akut told Morning Star. "Some of them exchanged gunfire with the few soldiers stationed at the post office in the town, while others burned down houses of Christians."

Community leader Joseph Adamu said around 50 — mostly women and children — were injured from gunshots and machete attacks. The massacre had prompted a 24-hour curfew declaration in Jama'a as tension heightened in the community, World Watch Monitor (WWM) reports.

On Oct. 17, Southern Kaduna People's Union (SOKAPU) attorney and president Solomon Musa told a press briefing that at least 40 of the victims had been identified. He also called out government officials for their silence and apparent neglect amid the situation.

"The savagery and barbarity of the attack is beyond belief," said Musa. "Yet, governments at the federal and state levels appear quiet and noncommittal. We have been abandoned, deserted and neglected."

Rev. Danladi Yarima, the Secretary of the Northern Christian Association of Nigeria, echoed Musa's sentiments and blamed the state government for not being able to prevent the deadly attack. He told WWM over the phone that they expected the government to dispatch more security personnel to the affected area. The attack has left churches closed and many people to flee for fear of more violence.