More than 100 Christians Killed in Nigerias Plateau State
A rash of attacks by armed Muslim extremists on villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state in the past month have left more than 100 Christians dead, including the elimination of entire families, sources told Compass Direct News reporter.
In a guerilla-type “hit and run” attack on the Christian community of Vwang Kogot, Muslim attackers arrived at about 8 p.m. on September 9 killing 14 Christians, including a pregnant woman. Survivors of the attack told Compass that the assailants raided the village with the aid of men in military uniforms of the Nigerian Army.
Many of the victims were members of a single family surnamed Danboyi. Gyang Badung ran into the bush when he heard gunshots and survived the attack, but his wife, four children, mother, grandmother and a nephew did not, he told Compass News. “I came home in the evening and had my meal, and right after I finished, I heard strange movement around our house and suddenly heard gunshots everywhere as my house was being attacked.” After the attack Badung returned home, only to find that his whole family had been killed except for two sons, who were injured but survived, and his father who also narrowly escaped and ran into the bush. Badung lost four children that night, aged 15, 9, 5 and 4. Neighbor Markus Mamba observed that the victims died from gun and machete wounds.”
Vou Mallam, another survivor of the attack, was with her husband and children when the raiders broke into their house. She escaped death when she found a hiding place in one of the rooms. Her husband, only son and grandchildren were killed. “After our evening meal, we prayed and asked the children to go to bed,” she told Compass. “Suddenly we heard gunshots in our house, so I quickly crawled into the children’s room and put off the lamp and crawled again to hide under the bed in another place. I saw a soldier with a gun coming into the room, but he did not see me, and I heard some of them saying by the window, ‘There is nobody here.’ But it was like they heard a movement and immediately started shooting. That was how they killed my husband in the place he was hiding, and my only son and his children in the other room were all killed.”
Mallam said she heard the assailants speaking the Fulani language. Ethnic Fulani are primarily Muslim nomads in Nigeria whom militant Muslims appear to be enlisting to attack Christian communities due to the Fulanis’ expert understanding of the terrain of rural communities. Having lived their lives as nomads with their cattle, the Fulani have acquired the skills to surmount tough environmental challenges, area residents believe. Dachung Dagai, pastor of a Church of Christ in Nigeria congregation in Vwang Kogot, told Compass that the village has been attacked three times since he arrived eight months ago.
“No help or relief from the government has been received by our people,” Dagai said. “We’ve just been living with the horror of not knowing what will happen next.” Dagai said their main concern is that Nigerian army soldiers have been involved in each attack.”What is the government doing about the soldiers?” he exclaimed. “In some places, enough evidence has been found against these Muslim soldiers and nothing has been done. Can’t the soldiers be withdrawn from the state? We are not in a war situation on the plateau, and the soldiers were brought for peace-keeping, but they are the ones leading attacks against us. Why can’t they be withdrawn? The government officials have always said they will look into the problems, but nothing has been done.”
Lord, in our relatively safe homes, it is difficult for us to wrap our minds around the tragedy that has occurred yet again in the Plateau State of Nigeria. We pray for those who have lost whole families in one terrifying night. Comfort them as only You can do. And break the power of fear that has been cast over them that they might have the courage to meet the challenges of each new day. And protect them, Lord. Where the government has been uncaring or impotent or even part of the violence, change their hearts to stand for justice. And may all know that it is You who has brought about justice in this place. Amen