16 Christians killed in latest attack in Nigeria

Armed gunmen believed to be Muslim Fulani herdsmen have attacked a cluster of villages in Plateau state, killing 16 Christians and destroying numerous homes, Christian leaders said.

According to a story by Morning Star News, the assailants, reportedly dressed in military camouflage, shot randomly as they struck Torok, Gwon, Gwarim, Gwareng and Rim villages in Rim District of the Riyom Local Government Area west of Jos.

Musa Gunduma Dang of Gwon village said they killed his mother, wife, four children and three other relatives.

"They shot sporadically and set my house ablaze, killing all members of my family, and the entire village has been destroyed," Dang said.

Daniel Bitrus Manjang, a pastor with the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), told Morning Star News the attacks were "very tragic".

"About 200 houses were burned, and 16 Christians were killed," said Manjang, a resident of Rim.

About 10 years ago Manjang lost his father, Rev Bitrus Manjang, a former COCIN vice president, to a similar attack in Rim village, he said.

Rev Patrick Kim, COCIN pastor in Gwarim, told Morning Star News by phone that the Muslim attackers invaded the villages at about 4pm, killing and destroying until 12:30am.

The church leaders said two worship sanctuaries and residences of two COCIN pastors were among the buildings set ablaze.

They said it was the second such attack in the district in less than a week, as Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed two other Christians in Diyan late last week.

On January 6, Morning Star News reported, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 33 Christians in an attack on Shonong village in Riyom LGA in which Special Task Force soldiers assigned to protect the villagers were said to turn their weapons on them.

Morning Star News said Christians make up 51.3 per cent of Nigeria's population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 per cent.

Those practicing indigenous religions may be as high as 10 per cent of the total population, according to Operation World, so the percentages of Christians and Muslims may be less.