Most of the victims were in their homes sleeping when the attacks began … when Muslim Fulani militant herdsmen began their killing spree in Nigeria that lasted four days, Thursday through Sunday evening and into Monday.
In only days, a dozen villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state were wiped out. The affected communities surround the city of Jos—known as the epicenter of Christianity in northern Nigeria’s Middle Belt.
According to our on-the-ground sources, as many as 200 Christians had been killed, however, some residents fear the death toll may be even higher, as more bodies are yet to be recovered, while others were burned beyond recognition. On Sunday, 75 of the victims were buried in a mass grave.
We are still gathering information about the violence, but the details we have from our sources on the ground so far reveal the scale and brutality of the attacks, in many cases more extensive than have been reported elsewhere:
- 120 people who were attending the funerals of an elderly member were hacked to death as they returned home.
- In another attack, in Gana Ropp village, a pastor, Rev. Musa Choji, was killed, as were his wife and son.
- In Gidin Akwati, the whole community was burned down. Local sources say that some of those displaced are still hiding in the bush, as they haven’t yet been able to find their way to a safe haven.
- A pastor with the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) denomination, who wanted to remain anonymous for security reasons, said that following an attack on Saturday, his entire village was reduced to ashes, and more than 100 people lost their lives.
The ECWA pastor said more than 50 heavily armed Fulani herdsmen surrounded the village of Nghar, in Gashes district, at around 3:30 a.m. They burned down all the houses, as well as two churches. Only a few people were able to escape.
His wife’s family was decimated. The assailants killed 14 members of her family, including her mother and sister. Others who had come to visit them were also killed. In total, 27 people lost their lives in the same house. They were all burned to death. Only one person—his wife’s younger brother—survived, as he managed to escape through the roof.
World Watch Monitor reports that on the day of the attack in Nghar, only two soldiers and one policeman were in the village, but they reportedly ran for their lives when the herdsmen launched their attack.