Fears of Christmas attacks in Nigeria after dozens killed in attacks on Christian area

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Dozens of people have been killed in a wave of attacks across a predominantly Christian part of Nigeria, leading to calls for increased security measures over Christmas.

At least 40 people have been killed and an unknown number abducted by armed members of the Fulani ethnic group in the southern part of Kaduna state, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). 

During an attack on Ungwan Bawa village in Kachia Local Government Area (LGA) on 16 December, the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) leader, Rev Yusuf Gan, was severely beaten in front of his family.

His wife and children were abducted along with an unknown number of villagers. 

In a spate of attacks on the Kamuru community in the Ikulu Ward of Zangon Kataf LGA on 12 and 13 December, four men were killed and an unknown number of people injured or abducted.

In a night attack on 18 December, 36 people were killed and many more injured in a night attack on the Malagum 1 and Sokwong communities of the Kagoro Chiefdom in Kaura Local Government Area (LGA). 

Sokwong was reportedly burnt to the ground and many homes and properties were destroyed in both communities. 

It came five days after another attack on Malagum 1 that left three people dead. 

The Speaker of Kaura LGA, Atuk Stephen, said that the attacks had been "consistent and multi-dimensional". He called on the federal government and security agencies to address the violence, saying that their efforts so far were "not seen or felt". 

CSW Founder President Mervyn Thomas said he stood in solidarity and prayer with the loved ones of abducted family members.

He called for action from the authorities to protect Christians celebrating Christmas in the coming days.

"We echo the concerns of Hon Atuk Stephen regarding the seeming inability of both levels of government to bring an end to violence which has increased exponentially during their respective tenures, and which will remain a damning indictment of their time in office," he said.

"These renewed attacks are occurring in the run up to the Christmas holidays, raising concerns of a possible campaign to disrupt the festive season in this predominantly Christian area.

"We urge the authorities to act now to ensure that security measures are in place for communities celebrating Christmas in their homes and churches, and that communities that have already been targeted do not suffer repeated terrorist raids."