At least 40 people have been killed in a brutal massacre of a Christian community in Nigeria.
Gunmen believed to be Fulani tribesmen raided Godogodo in Kaduna State, Nigeria – a predominantly Christian settlement – on October 15. The incident followed previous killings in the village last month. Besides those killed and wounded, hundreds have been displaced with housing, places of worship and agriculture destroyed.
Village residents said the massacre began at 5pm, shortly after journalists had left after reporting the machete attack that killed eight on September 24-26, Morning Star News reports.
One witness, Peter Atangi, watched his four children being killed by the herdsmen. He spoke to World Watch Monitor:
"The herdsmen came around 9pm on Saturday [15 October]. They invaded our homes after they attacked a military checkpoint. They were armed with sophisticated guns, machetes, knives and sticks. As soon as they came, they started shooting indiscriminately and we started running in different directions," he said.
"They shot and killed my four children. As we ran for our dear lives, they also set our homes on fire. Many of us have been rendered homeless."
Pastor Isaac Balason of Nasara Baptist Church, Godogodo, spoke to Morning Star News on the phone during the attack. "It is now 8:30 p.m., and the attack is ongoing," he said. "We're not sure we'll survive this time. Please be in prayers with us."
Solomon Musa, attorney and president of the Southern Kaduna People's Union, said at a press conference on Monday that local residents had identified at least 40 victims.
He said: "Godogodo communities once again came under very fierce, terrifying, brutal, savage and barbarous attack by Fulani herdsmen without provocation of any nature from Saturday 15th October, 2016, to Sunday afternoon," he said. "So far, the locals have been able to identify not less than 40 corpses, aside from the several other corpses burnt beyond recognition."
According to Musa nearly all the houses in the village were burned. "The savagery and barbarity of the attack is beyond belief," he said. "Yet, governments at the federal and state levels appear quiet and noncommittal. We have been abandoned, deserted and neglected."
Rev Thomas Akut of the Evangelical Church Winning All Good News Church in Godogodo said the attack had displaced all 245 members of his church. "Most of the villages around Godogodo have been destroyed and thousands of Christians displaced, " he said, noting that he considered the attacks part of an Islamic war against Christians.
"This is a jihad," he said. "It is an Islamic holy war against Christians in the southern part of Kaduna state."
World Watch monitor reports that more than 300 people – the majority of them Christians – have been killed in attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the last five months, and more than 5,000 people have been displaced.
Another Nigerian pastor, Rev Augustine Akpen Lev, told the site: "This is another jihad like the one waged by Boko Haram in the north-east of the country. The attackers carry sophisticated weapons, sometimes they even used chemical weapons on our communities. They just come, often overnight when people are sleeping. They attack defenseless people and go away. They clearly have an agenda: to wipe out the Christian presence and take over the land."