Targeted attacks on Christians in Benue state
Over 15 Christians were killed by Islamist Fulani cattle herdsmen last week in serial attacks on villages around Tse Ishav, near Guma and Mbawa near Yelwata in Benue State, Central Nigeria.
In Tse Ishav village, Christians, attending a memorial service, were killed in a targeted attack while several others, who barely escaped with different degrees of wounds, are receiving treatment at Gbajimba General Hospital in the State.
The State’s Information Commissioner Lawrence Onoja, said the Islamists left “behind eight corpses, several missing and many wounded.”
The attack in Logo district left five people dead in Tse Ngojov and Tse Nyanmkyuma communities while two other villages were burnt down.
The Guma Local Government Chairman, Anthony Shawon said that mong those killed were two final year school students and a number of people are still missing.
“I received information that the militia herdsmen about 3: 00 am today (Wednesday 6 June) invaded Shan in Sagyev and hacked down the villagers in their sleep. Unfortunately, two students who had come to the village to write the ongoing NECO (Final Year) examination were among the dead,” Shawon said.
Benue State, predominantly Christian, has been the scene of repeated attacks by Fulani cattle herdsmen. Hundreds of Christians have been massacred and farmlands seized by the herdsmen.
Barnabas reported that 16 Christians, including two Catholic Priests, were murdered in a gun attack on 23 April when a gang of violent herdsmen attacked a church in Gwer, Benue State, before setting fire to 50 houses. It followed the killing of 10 Christian farmers in Guma on 19 April.
The Nigerian government has neither agreed to declare the Islamist cattle herdsmen a terrorist group nor has it done much in stopping the attacks which have continuously targetted predominant Christian settlements. States that have been targeted since 2010 have been the Middle Belt region of the country where missionary groups have worked for decades to spread Christianity and established schools and hospitals.
Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.
Image Credits: Author/Google Images/Benue Funeral