Armed Muslim Fulani raiders stormed a Christian village in central Nigeria Wednesday, killing 13 and wounding three more.
A band of some 20 Fulani gunmen attacked the predominantly Christian village of Kulben, in Plateau state’s Mangu County, at about 8:00 p.m. Wednesday and began shooting, according to local reports. The gunmen killed 13 residents, all of whom were members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) and wounded another three.
“They were shooting with guns in all directions, forcing the villagers to scamper into surrounding bushes,” said 40-year-old Michael Mutding, who witnessed the incident. “Corpses of those killed have been evacuated by soldiers and police to the mortuary of Mangu Cottage Hospital; and all the victims are members of COCIN.”
On Thursday, Plateau State Command spokesman Terna Tyopev confirmed details of the attack as well as the death toll.
“We received a distress call that gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked Kulben community of Kombun District of Mangu,” Tyopev said. “As a result, 13 persons lost their lives and three were severely injured.”
“Our team of detectives and other officers are on the scene of the crime to prevent further attacks,” he added.
For his part, Simon Bako Lalong, the governor of Plateau State, expressed his determination to see justice done.
“We have toiled to ensure that peace returns to Plateau state, and we will not allow anyone to make nonsense of our efforts,” Lalong said. “We are determined to deal decisively and firmly with anybody found culpable in attacking or inciting people to carry out attacks against one another.”
Rev. Samson Ayokunle, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), recently rebuked Nigerian security forces and government officials for their inaction in dealing effectively with anti-Christian violence.
“The government has not secured their freedoms or said anything about them,” Ayokunle said in a statement. “If criminals are invading the Christian communities, killing and abducting unchallenged, what do we call it if it is not persecution? How many terrorists, Fulani herdsmen killers and bandits are in the custody of the security agencies? How many of them have been arraigned in court?”
According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, Islamist Fulani raiders are waging a brutal war on Nigeria’s Christians, in a campaign to rid the country’s Middle Belt of non-Muslims.
Fulani extremists now pose a greater threat than the Islamic terror group Boko Haram, wrote Bernard-Henri Lévy, and carry out systematic jihadist attacks involving burning, raping, maiming, pillaging, and killing.
This “slow-motion war” against Nigeria’s Christians is “massive in scale and horrific in brutality,” wrote Lévy, and yet “the world has hardly noticed.”
While mainstream media normally describe the attacks on Christians as ethnically motivated, this description is false, Lévy insisted, the work of “professional disinformers.”
“They are Islamic extremists of a new stripe,” said a Nigerian NGO director interviewed by Lévy, “more or less linked with Boko Haram.”
In the most recent (2019) World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution, compiled by Christian watchdog group Open Doors, Nigeria ranked number 12.