Fulani herdsmen on 24 March killed an estimated 50 Christians and abducted a Catholic priest in attacks on communities in an area of Kaduna state, Nigeria, area sources said.
In late-night attacks on 10 predominantly Christian communities of Giwa County, herdsmen and others also took about 100 people captive and burned down a church building, area residents said.
"They also burned houses, stores and killed animals," resident Nuhu Musa told Morning Star News by text message.
"These attacks continued and lasted up to the morning of Friday, 25 March. They didn't allow even the dead bodies to be buried, as they shot at mourners and those who returned to the villages to conduct funerals for those killed."
Women and children were among those killed, Musa said. The burned church building was located in Zangon Tama village, and the assailants also raided the villages of Unguwar Kaya Fatika, Barebari, Dillalai, Unguwar Bakko, Gidan Alhajin Kadi, Kadanya and Durumi, he said.
"Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna state is bleeding," Musa said.
Samuel Aruwan, commissioner in Kaduna state's Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, said initial reports showed the assailants had attacked the villages of Dillalai, Barebari, Dokan Alhaji Ya'u, Durumi, Kaya and Fatika.
The Catholic priest, the Rev. Felix Fidson Zakari of St. Ann's Catholic Church, was taken away at gunpoint from Zangon Tama village along with others, four area residents said. The residents and a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Zaria requested prayer for the abducted priest.
Among other villagers, Julius Agbado, a member of the Catholic church, said, "Please kindly pray for the safe release of Rev. Fr. Felix Fidson Zakari, a priest of St. Ann's Catholic Church, Zangon Tama, under the Catholic Diocese of Zaria, who was kidnapped after armed herdsmen and terrorists attacked Zangon Tama."
Another area resident, Muazu Gogi, lamented the government's failure to protect villagers against such attacks, which have become commonplace in Kaduna state.
"Pray for us to survive these attacks by herdsmen and bandits," Gogi said.
"These herdsmen and bandits attacked several villages in Giwa Local Government Area and killed more than 50 persons. The government is aware about the killings and destructions by these Fulani terrorists and armed bandits but is unable to protect the people."
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