Dozens of Christians killed in week of violence in Nigeria

The funeral of two Christians slain in Agom village, southern Kaduna state, on Nov. 14, 2019.(Photo: Morning Star News)

Radicalised Fulani herdsmen killed 10 Christians sheltering in a camp for displaced people in north-central Nigeria on Monday night. 

The attack took place at a camp situated along the Makurdi-Lafia highway in Abagena, Benue State, Morning Star News reports. 

The camp is home to around 7,000 people who have been displaced due to ongoing violence by herdsmen. 

Survivor David Akiga told the website that 10 were killed and 9 injured in Monday's attack. 

It brings the Christian death toll in Benue state in the last week to 33 after attacks by herdsmen on five largely Christian communities across Guma County on Saturday left 17 Christians dead. 

A few days earlier, on April 21, six Christians were killed in attacks by herdsmen in Guma, Makurdi and Agatu counties, according to a local official. 

Terver Akase, spokesman for Benue Governor Samuel Ortom, confirmed the attacks. 

"Gov. Ortom expressed shock over the attack on the displaced Christians and described it as cowardly by men possessed by evil," the spokesman said.

"He said these unprovoked attacks were becoming unacceptable."

The deaths of the Christians fall within wider violence occuring in Benue State, with over 70 in total killed in Guma, Makurdi and Gwer West local government areas in the last two weeks, he said. 

Akase said the state's "patience is being overstretched in spite of our preaching of rule of law and due process."

"You can see that the people are fed up," he said. 

In another part of Nigeria, Kaduna state, one Christian was killed and five others abducted when suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked a Baptist worship service on Sunday. 

The herdsmen rode into Manini Tasha village on motorbikes and opened fire at Haske Baptist Church at around 9am. 

The victim, Zakariah Dogonyaro, was a doctor with the Kaduna State Ministry of Health, his nephew Yakubu Bala told Morning Star News. 

His sister-in-law, stepmother and niece were in the group of worshippers abducted during the attack, he said. 

The Rev Caleb Ma'aji, secretary of the Kaduna state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), condemned the Nigerian government over its failure to stem attacks and kidnappings, which he said have "hijacked" the country.  

"We wonder, what is the crime of innocent citizens, and how come the terrorists appear more free and protected than the citizens?" he said.

"This is a challenge to the government; indeed a government that is unable to guarantee the safety of its citizens and their properties will be best termed a failed government."