Muslim Fulani herdsmen stormed a Christian community and shot indiscriminately into houses, killing one woman before kidnapping four others, sources told Morning Star News, a nonprofit persecution watchdog outlet.
Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed Ezra Haruna, a member of Godiya Baptist Church in Ungwan Barau village, in an attack on the village near Udawa in Chikun County, Kaduna state, at 4 a.m. on Oct. 7.
Four other church members, including Jummai Ido, the church pastor’s wife, were kidnapped in the attack, said Godiya Baptist Church member, Joseph Umarau, to Morning Star News.
“Three others kidnapped also during the invasion are Luka Auta, Sale Auta [brothers] and Yakubu Audu,” Umarau said, adding that the armed herdsmen stormed the community and shot indiscriminately into houses, forcing residents to flee into bushes surrounding the village.
The attack comes just days after herdsmen kidnapped six Christian female students and two teachers from Engravers’ College, a Christian-run high school in Kakau village, also in Chikun County. The eight remain in captivity.
Kaduna Gov. Nasir el-Rufai told news outlets that with the latest bout of violence, Fulani “bandits” are likely working alongside elements of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
“We have been receiving intelligence some three months ago that the bandits have connected with some elements of Boko Haram, and they will be targeting schools to kidnap children because they know that that is what makes the news,” El-Rufai said.
Kakau village lies in the kidnapping belt of the state and is on the route to Kwanti village, which has continually been targeted by Muslim extremists, including Fulani herdsmen.
Last year, four churches were shut down in the village following repeated attacks on the Christian community that claimed four lives of church members and resulted in the kidnapping of 15 Christians released only after ransoms were paid.
In September, it was reported that herdsmen kidnapped and killed a pastor’s wife in Nigeria’s Kaduna state after breaking her legs so she could not escape. Also in September, suspected Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot and killed Baptist pastor Alhamdu Mangadus of Nasara Baptist Church in Asso as he worked on his farm.
In April 2018, militant Fulani herdsmen attacked a Catholic church in Benue State during a morning service, killing two priests and 17 parishioners. After the “shooting rampage,” the attackers reportedly “descended on the community and razed over 60 houses, farmland, food barns, after carting away what the people had in their barns.”
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.