Nine Christians were shot dead in Plateau State, Nigeria, on Tuesday night by attackers believed to be militant Fulani herdsmen.
The victims were returning home from a weekly village market before being attacked in the Riyom Local Government Area (LGA), at around 7.30pm, according to World Watch Monitor.
Seven were killed immediately, while two more died in hospital and four others were injured. They all belonged to one of two churches: the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) and the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA).
One witness said the attackers were Fulani Herdsmen, part of a violent Islamic extremist militia that's become established as one of the deadliest in the world. Some sources suggested Nigerian soldiers had also been involved in the attack, an assertion strongly rejected by army spokesman Captain Umar Adam, who said an official investigation had been immediately undertaken, and that findings would be released.
The victims were buried in their village, Rim, on Wednesday. They were named: Daniel Shom, Dachollom Shom, Emmanuel Gyang, Daniel Niri, Felix Gwom, Reuben Danbwang, Sunday Danbwang, Dagam Danbwang and Bitrus Chunwang.
The attack, the latest in a string of mass killings in Nigeria, was widely condemned by various state officials and lawmakers, who called for action and renewed security measures. Riyom LGA legislator Istifanus Gyang said the 'ruthless banditry and brutal slaughter' of the nomadic Islamic extremists was probably driven by a quest for land occupation.
Chairman of Riyom LGA, Emmanuel Jugul called for government intervention following the displacement of most people in the communities of Mahanga and Gweba at the hand of the Fulani.
'You can imagine that there are villages that indigenous [people] cannot go,' he said. 'Today, a native of Riyom cannot go Mahanga because they will be killed by the Fulani people. Fulanis are saying that they have captured the place. Are they fighting [a] jihad? Why should they be talking about capturing communities?'