STORE

Muslim Militants Burn Alive Christian Pastor and His Family in Nigeria

A Fulani herding boy interacts with a cow in a field outside Kaduna, northwest Nigeria, on February 22, 2017.
STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Fulani Muslim militants launched raids on eight villages in central Nigeria this week, burning alive a Christian pastor along with his wife and three of their children.

In the village of Abonong in Plateau State, the Islamic raiders, armed with machetes and AK47 rifles, looted and destroyed 95 houses, along with farmland and three churches. They killed Pastor Adamu Gyang Wurim and his family by setting fire to their house while they were inside and shot the pastor’s wife in the bathroom. The assailants killed two other villagers as well, wounding several others.

The attack, which began Tuesday evening around 8:00 p.m., lasted over four hours before security personnel finally arrived on the scene. By then the attackers had razed much of the villages of Abonong and Ziyat, and stolen valuables including electronics, mattresses, food, and livestock.

The incident occurred just 24 hours after a two-day peace summit in Jos organized by the Christian Association of Nigeria with the theme, “Sustainable peace and security in Northern Nigeria as a panacea for development.”

A local lawyer, Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, spoke with one of the three surviving children of the pastor, who was away at the University of Jos at the time of the attack and learned of it on Facebook.

“When I called a friend to find out about the situation, the report I received was very devastating,” the young man said. “I couldn’t believe that all my family members have been engulfed in the pogrom. On reaching home, I saw my daddy and younger ones burnt beyond recognition.”

“The three of us left don’t know what to do, especially now that we are still students who have nothing to hold on [to],” he said.

One witness, Mr. Gwom Pam Dusu, who works at a Roman Catholic Church in the area, said that local security had received information about an impending attack planned by Fulani herdsmen and their hired mercenaries but failed to act.

Despite the information, “security personnel stationed at Bek of Foron District didn’t do anything to avert the terror attacks,” Mr. Gwom claimed.

Nathan Johnson, the regional manager for Africa of International Christian Concern, expressed astonishment over the government’s inaction in an area of continued inter-religious strife.

“The fact that the government allows the continued destruction and killing of its villages and citizens shows a lack of care or ability,” Mr. Johnson said. “If this continues, there will have to be international intervention or else Nigeria may devolve into a major civil war.”

A member of the House of Representatives, Istifanus Gyang, concurred in a statement accusing the federal government of complicity following the renewed attacks which came about two months after the slaughter of over 200 Christians by Fulani herdsmen.

“These attacks are coming at a time when the people are yet to recover from the massacre of over 200 persons in the same Barkin Ladi LGA with thousands of the displaced victims still languishing in Internally Displaced Persons camps,” Mr. Gyang said.

“The unfortunate thing is that the perpetrators of these attacks continue to execute their agenda with reckless abandon without an appropriate response by government!” he said.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter

.