Seven Nigerian Christians burnt to death among 19 dead as Fulani militants attack during Covid-19 (coronavirus) lockdown

Seven vulnerable older Christians, unable to flee as hundreds Fulani militants attacked their village in Plateau State, Nigeria, during the national Covid-19 lockdown, were burnt to death in their homes.

More than 300 gunmen descended on the Christian village of Hukke, near Jos, in the early hours of 2 April, setting fire to at least 23 homes. The youngest of those killed was aged 67 and the oldest 90.

A Barnabas contact reported that the villagers were staying at home because of government Covid-19 restrictions when the attack came. He added that villages were left “very vulnerable” after the few security forces stationed in the area were pulled out late last month as national focus turned to combatting coronavirus.

Christian villagers survey burnt out homes after the murderous attack on Hukke village by Fulani militants

A pastor in Hukke described the limited response of local police. “While the attack lasted, for over two hours, a security force came comprising of some policemen. They simply stopped at a distance and kept firing in the air and eventually left,” he said.

The merciless attack in Hukke came only 24 hours after a murderous onslaught by Islamist militants on the neighbouring Christian village of Ancha, on 1 April. Two men and a woman were killed in a late night attack that lasted for three hours and left 17 homes burnt out.

Also on 1 April, Nkeidoro village was razed to the ground and left “desolate” in a separate militant attack that forced families to abandon the village. The Barnabas contact said at least six Christian men from Nkeidoro had been killed during the previous weeks in various attacks, including some by Fulani “scouts” armed with AK-47 assault rifles.

Armed attackers shot 50-year-old Abah Yoki in the leg before killing his two children and a local pastor in Nsah village, on 6 April. The distraught father described the attack to Barnabas, “I just came out of my house that night about 7:00 p.m. when I saw movements in the dark, I asked ‘who are those?’ Then I heard the gunshots. I turned and fled and was hit by a bullet and fell. There were about ten of them on the footpath that leads to the river. I could not make out any of their faces, but I heard an order given in Fulfulde [Fulani language]. I was first to be shot. They then went into the house they shot and killed two of my children. Duh who was 30 years old and Ishaku who was eleven. They then moved to the pastor’s house and shot him.” 

A group of Christian villagers in Plateau State, Nigeria, mourn the loss of loved ones who were killed in a Fulani militant attack

Our contact warned that the numbers of Christian deaths caused by Islamist violence in Nigeria may be underestimated as incidents are not always reported. He relayed the words of a local Christian leader, “We are tired and we do not want to bother others about our tragedies. We seem always to be reporting deaths and attacks and people are weary of our reports.”

From Barnabas Fund contacts 

Source: Barnabas Fund