Terrorists kill seven Christians in central Nigeria

National Mosque in Abuja, Nigeria.
National Mosque in Abuja, Nigeria. | (Creative Commons)

Fulani herdsmen accompanied by other terrorists on March 19 and 20 killed seven Christians in attacks on villages in central Nigeria, sources said.

In Benue state’s Logo County, the assailants slaughtered seven Christians in the Yongia Ukambie Tiev and Ukembrergya-Tswarev communities, said the Rev. Jonathan Adagbe, chairman of the Logo Local Government Council.

“The attacks were carried out by the herdsmen who were accompanied by a group of terrorists,” Pastor Adagbe told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “These herdsmen act brazenly and attack Christians at will and with impunity. No one dares challenge their terrorist acts; not even the military or other security agents are able to curtail their activities against Christian communities.”

The pastor said he visited the areas for assessment in order to file reports with the Benue state government and saw armed, Muslim Fulani herdsmen still moving freely in the communities they had attacked.

Community leader Joseph Anawah said the terrorists attacked without any resistance from Nigeria’s military or security agents.

“The herdsmen, whom we believe are working alongside terrorists, attacked our villages for two days, beginning on Tuesday, 19 March,” Anawah told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News in a text message. “The terrorists started attacking our villages at about 4 p.m. and continued on Wednesday, 20 March. So far, we know that seven Christians were killed during the invasion on our villages.”

Nigeria remained the deadliest place in the world to follow Christ, with 4,118 people killed for their faith from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023, according to Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List (WWL) report. More kidnappings of Christians than in any other country also took place in Nigeria, with 3,300.

Nigeria was also the third highest country in number of attacks on churches and other Christian buildings such as hospitals, schools, and cemeteries, with 750, according to the report.

In the 2024 WWL of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria was ranked No. 6, as it was in the previous year.

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 2020 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.