Tag: Nigeria

Nigeria: Chibok schoolgirls abduction – Three years ago today.

Exactly three years ago today, 276 girls were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State – all of them between the ages of 15 and 19. While 57 of the girls escaped from their abductors on that day, negotiations between the federal government and the insurgents led to the release of 21 others last year just as another three regained their freedom following military operations. The remaining 195 girls are still being held captive by the terrorists.

An image from a video released by Boko Haram that purports to show several of the schoolgirls who were kidnapped from Chibok in 2014. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Since 2014, 117 children have been used by Boko Haram to carry out bomb attacks in public places across Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, according to a Unicef report issued Wednesday. The report said 27 children had been used in suicide attacks in the first three months of 2017 compared with nine during the same period last year.

“As a consequence, girls, boys and even infants have been viewed with increasing fear at markets and checkpoints, where they are thought to carry explosives,” said a Unicef news release about the report.

Many Nigerians fear the girls from Chibok would be used as suicide bombers, but no evidence of this exists. Some former captives have said the girls were separated from other captives and received special treatment like more food. Officials said some of the freed girls told them that a handful of their captives classmates died during childbirth or in military raids on Boko Haram camps.

Bring Back Our Girls campaigners protested on Thursday in Lagos, Nigeria, and called on the government to rescue the girls still held by Boko Haram. Credit Sunday Alamba/Associated Press

The group Bring Back Our Girls has planned lectures and protests this week to draw attention to the fact that three years have passed without the government fulfilling its promise to rescue all the girls from Chibok. Aware of the fact that other people in the Nigeria are also suffering, the group is calling for a national registry of missing persons that would include people affected by the Boko Haram war and beyond.

TIMELINE ON CHIBOK GIRLS’ ABDUCTION

April 14, 2014: Armed Boko Haram insurgents abducted the Chibok schoolgirls from their dormitory at a time they were writing their final year exams.

About 57 of the girls managed to escape at different times while on transit with their abductors.

April 16, 2014: The military announced that soldiers had rescued over 100 of the girls; a claim the military had to quickly recant after the school principal, Asabe Kwambura, as well as many of the parents of the abducted girls, refuted it.

April 18, 2014: The Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, offered a N50 million reward for any information that could lead to release of the abducted girls. But no credible information was received to help rescue the girls.

April 21, 2014: The governor defied security warnings to visit Chibok where he was informed by members of a local search party who took it upon themselves to go after the girls and their abductors that they had to give up on the mission following a warning that advancing further into Sambisa forest could cost them their lives.

May 12, 2014: Boko Haram released the first video of the abducted girls, a development which confirmed that the girls were actually in the custody of the Abubakar Shekau-led terror group. Mr. Shekau in the video threatened to marry the girls off or use them as part of his war booty.

May 16, 2014: Former President Goodluck Jonathan canceled a planned trip to Chibok where he was scheduled to meet the missing girls’ parents. The cancellation of the trip stirred anger in the town as parents accused Mr. Jonathan of insensitivity to the plight of their kids who had spent 31 days in captivity at that time.

May 18, 2014: A chance to rescue the girls by local hunters was missed when the Borno State government refused to give approval to the local hunters to invade Sambisa forest on the ground that other than their charms and amulets, they lacked the sophistication to confront the armed Boko Haram gunmen.

May 19, 2014: The federal government sent a delegation led by Ibrahim Sabo, a retired Brigadier-General of the Nigerian Army, on a fact-finding mission, amongst other things, to find out why the Borno State government kept the school in Chibok opened when others were closed at that time. The committee did not visit Chibok.

May 20, 2014: The Borno State government set up a N150 million special funds for the rehabilitation of the 57 escapees Chibok girls.

October 16, 2014: The former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, an Air Vice-Marshal, announced that the federal government had reached a ceasefire deal with leaders of Boko Haram and that the 216 girls in captivity would soon be released. But Boko Haram leaders quickly denied that claim.

November 2, 2014: Boko Haram leader, Mr. Shekau, released a video during which he declared that all the 216 girls in his custody had been converted to Islam and married off. He also denied ever negotiating with the federal government concerning the girls.

March 24, 2015: A woman who escaped from Boko Haram captivity revealed that some of the Chibok girls were being held somewhere near Gwoza and that two of the girls had been killed during a military air strike on one of the terrorists’ locations.

May 29, 2015: President Muhammadu Buhari, in his inaugural speech, promised to end Boko Haram insurgency and rescue the Chibok schoolgirls within six months.

August 29, 2015: President Buhari met 90 of the parents of the abducted Chibok girls during which he restated the promise to rescue the girls.

November 30, 2015: President Buhari dashed the hopes of many Nigerians when he told the world during his maiden media chat that there was no “credible information” on the whereabouts of the Chibok girls.

February 5, 2016: Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, declared that the 219 missing Chibok girls may never be found.

May 18, 2016: One of the abducted Chibok girls, Amina Ali Nkeki, was found with her baby and a man she identified as her husband.

October 13, 2016: Boko Haram released 21 Chibok girls following a negotiation deal.

January 5, 2017: Another Chibok girl, Rakiya Abubakar, was found with her baby, which brings to 23 the number of the abducted girls to have regained freedom to date.

Source: NY Times, AllAfrica.



NO RANSOM PAID AS KIDNAPPED GERMAN ARCHEOLOGISTS FREED FEATURED

By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

Fulani herdsmen attacking a Christian village in Nigeria

KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA (ANS — March 2, 2017) — Two German archaeologists kidnapped in Nigeria’s central state of Kaduna were freed on Feb. 25 (Saturday), without ransom payments.

World Watch Monitor reports Peter Breunig and Johannes Buringer were taken by gunmen on Wednesday (Feb. 22) in Jenjela village, near Kagarko. Two villagers who tried to help them were killed by the gunmen.

Houses destroyed churches burned shops vanalized in Goska last December

The news agency said it is 80km (50 miles) from Kafanchan, where more than 800 people have been killed since 2011 and where the Nigerian army is setting up a new base to tackle growing inter-ethnic conflict between the indigenous mainly Christian farmers and the Fulani nomadic pastoralists.

The agency said in the week before the Germans were taken, heavily armed herdsmen killed at least 30 people, including two policemen, and destroyed homes over two days in the mostly Christian communities of Kafanchan and Kagoro.

The agency reports the kidnappers are believed to be ethnic Fulani. Fulani herdsmen have been cattle rustling and kidnapping people for ransom for years. Kidnapping has become a flourishing business in Nigeria. Several prominent hostages in recent months include clerics, diplomats and politicians.

The kidnappers of the two Germans demanded 60 million naira ($189,000) for their release — but the Nigerian police said no ransom has been paid.

According to World Watch Monitor, the archaeologists were conducting a study on Nok culture, an indigenous Christian community in South Kaduna. The early Iron Age people, considered the earliest ancient civilization of the West African region that is now Nigeria, are famous for their terracotta sculptures.

Two German women with the two men were not taken hostage, the agency said.

Investigations are still ongoing to determine if there are any links between the criminals and perpetrators of the recent atrocities in southern Kaduna.

Some reports of the kidnap have also pointed out that, while the Nigerian capital’s airport is closed for repairs for six weeks from March 8, Abuja-bound travelers will have to fly into Kaduna instead, and drive 100 miles south-west. Most international carriers say they will not operate into Kaduna.

World Watch Monitor originally reported on Feb. 23, the two German archaeologists were kidnapped by unknown gunmen in southern Kaduna, highlighting the growing insecurity in the northern Nigerian state.

The kidnapping of the two men, who have been working in the region for 10 years, took place in Kagarko*, 80km (50 miles) from Kafanchan, where more than 800 people have been killed since 2011.

Armed Fulani herdsmen

World Watch Monitor explained that Nigeria’s Middle Belt, which includes Kaduna, Nasarawa, Taraba, Benue and other states, is the scene of frequent attacks on Christian farmers (often called indigenes) by mainly Muslim Hausa-Fulani nomadic herdsmen.

Earlier this week, heavily armed herdsmen killed at least 30 people, including two policemen, and destroyed homes over two days in the mostly Christian communities of Kafanchan and Kagoro.

Local Christians say security personnel are preventing the Christians from protecting their own communities while allowing the Fulani to attack without any interference.

The violence had reached a peak over Christmas when dozens of Christians were killed. That prompted local authorities to declare a 24-hour curfew in three Local Government Areas (LGAs): Jema’a, Kaura and Sanga.

The Nigerian National Human Rights Commission in December 2016 had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to put an end to the ongoing deadly attacks. At the same time, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project asked the UN to investigate the killings. Dr. Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on Extra-Judicial or Arbitrary Executions, promised to look into the massacres, with a view to ensuring that justice prevails and the culprits are punished.

The news agency further stated that Church groups in northern Nigeria have condemned recent killings, which they say are aimed at wiping out the Christian presence in the region. The attacks, which have claimed hundreds of lives, have affected mainly the central states of Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Benue, but also Kaduna. Southern Kaduna has been particularly targeted, with attacks occurring almost on a weekly, or even daily basis recently.

Kaduna’s state government had responded to the insecurity by relocating the Army Commander and Police Commissioner to southern Kaduna.

Many groups and individuals, including Peter Bawa, the Chairman of the Northern Christian Youth Assembly, have commended the state governor, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, for initiatives taken so far, believing that they will go a long way to curtail the menace of herdsmen who have plunged many communities in the area into mourning.

However, some of southern Kaduna’s indigenous population interviewed by World Watch Monitor said the government was militarizing the conflict, using military force as the first and not the last resort, often without civilian engagement.

The state government has also accused church leaders, activists, journalists and even traditional rulers, seeking to raise awareness about the violence, of committing hate speech, incitement and attempting to secure foreign funding. Several have been taken in for questioning or briefly detained.

On February 17, activist and lawyer Audu Maikori, who had mistakenly tweeted a false report before retracting it and apologizing unreservedly, was arrested in Lagos and flown to Abuja, where he was detained overnight on a warrant reportedly issued in Kaduna.

*Southern Kaduna has eight LGAs – Sanga, Jema’a, Kaura, Jaba, Zangon Kataf, Kagarko, Kachia and Kauru – and is predominantly Christian; the worst hit LGAs are Jema’a, Kaura, Sanga and Kauru.

 

Source: Assist News Service



Fulani Militants Attack and Kill Ten in Christian Community in Nigeria

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on Saturday, January 7 at approximately 2:00 p.m., a group of Fulani Islamic militants invaded a predominantly Christian village, Kwayine, in Adamawa State, Nigeria. The militants killed six police officers, four civilians, and destroyed houses and a police truck.

A government worker, who spoke to ICC on the condition of anonymity, said that militants had attempted an attack on December 31, 2016, but were driven away by police and community members. The community remained concerned that another attack was impending, but were reassured by police that the situation was under control. The attack on January 7 came unexpectedly in the middle of the day.

One of the victims of the attack told ICC, “The Fulanis came into the village yesterday at about 2:00 p.m. They came upon us suddenly, chased us off, scattered us and burnt our houses. We fled. I barely escaped with my life. Only God knows where some of our people are now. We don’t know what we did to them.”

The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Adamawa State, in a press release issued by its Chairman, Ajine Delo, berated the Adamawa State Government, saying the attack “is an indictment on the failure of the Law Enforcement Agencies and Intelligence Units who are saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace, protecting lives and properties and gathering secret information about hostile attacks by enemies. They have failed to protect the Demsa Communities…”

The Fulani are the largest nomadic people group in the world and are known for the high level of importance they assign to their cattle. They are predominantly Muslim and often carry out attacks in Nigeria in the name of Islam. However, Nigeria has refused to recognize them as a terrorist group.

This is not the first time that communities in Demsa have come under attack by the militants. Toward the end of July 2016, Fulani militants attacked Kodomun village in Demsa local council area, killing about 25 people and displacing more than 2,000 people. The latest village that was attacked is in the same area, a region that is predominantly Christian.

Daniel Harris, Regional Manager for ICC, said “ICC strongly condemns this attack on Christian communities in Nigeria. This is yet another example of the government’s failure to provide adequate protection for Christian communities in this region and refusal to stamp out the radical movements that cause these deadly attacks. The government’s refusal to recognize the Fulani militants as what they are, Islamic terrorists, threatens religious freedom and the lives of Christians in this region. We encourage the government of Nigeria to bring these perpetrators of violence to justice and to work harder to protect the lives of Christians in Adamawa State.”

Source: International Christian Concern



NIGERIA: CHURCH BLEEDS UNDER FULANI JIHAD

Written by Elizabeth Kendal

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Fulani herdsmen on the attack

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Fulani herdsmen attacking Christians, KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA (ANS – November 23, 2016)

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin by Elizabeth Kendal, Special to ASSIST News Service
— During the latter half of the 20th Century, modernisation and environmental factors such as drought and desertification left many Fulani and Hausa Muslims struggling to maintain their traditional, nomadic way of life.

While many abandoned cattle grazing and migrated into the cities in search of work, others still lead their cattle south in search of food and water. The situation has put immense strain on Nigeria’s ethno-religious “fault-line”, where Fulani Muslim “settlers” from the north and southern Christian “indigenes” now compete for land, water, jobs and political power.

For decades, successive northern Muslim military dictators empowered the Fulani. In today’s democratic Nigeria, Muslim fundamentalists — political leaders, military personnel and Islamic jihadists — back the Fulani and use them as proxies to expand Islamic territory at the expense of local Christians, a record number of whom are now displaced. The seemingly endless violence perpetrated by Muslim Fulani against Christian indigenous communities across the “fault-line” and ever deeper into the south needs to be understood in the context of predatory migration, ethno-religious cleansing and classic imperialistic Islamic jihad.

Kaduna — one of Nigeria’s twelve Sharia [Islamic Law] states — sits in Nigeria’s volatile Middle Belt with Fulani Muslims in the north, Christian tribes in the south and its divided capital straddling the ethno-religious “fault-line”.

On the evening of Sunday, November 13, 2016, Fulani herdsmen besieged and attacked five villages — Kigam, Kitakum, Unguwan Magaji, Unguwan Rimi and Kizipi — in Chawai Chiefdom in Kauru Local Government Area (LGA) in Southern Kaduna, about 300 km [186 miles] south-east of the Kaduna metropolis. Armed with guns, knives, machetes and explosives, the Fulani killed 45 mostly women, children and elderly Christian residents while wounding dozens more and displacing thousands. Numerous vehicles and over 120 houses (including eight house-churches) were looted and torched.

church_leaders_in_kaduna

Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) press conference. (World Watch Monitor).

According to local eyewitnesses, a Fulani herdsman named Haruna had approached a local farmer in September, requesting permission to graze his cattle on his land. The farmer refused, explaining that he had just finished preparing the land for planting yam in October. Despite this, the cattleman moved his cattle in and even built huts on the farmer’s land. Reluctant simply to submit and surrender his land, the farmer eventually called the police who intervened to remove the cattleman and his herd. When the cattleman subsequently returned, local youths chased him away. That was when the Fulani decided to ethnically cleanse the whole area.

Frustrated by the endless carnage, the Chairman of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, Solomon Musa, reiterated calls for the establishment of a military base in Southern Kaduna. “It has now become abundantly clear,” he said, “to even the worst sceptics, that Southern Kaduna has become a killing field where genocide is taking place unabated.”

Most analysts would concur with Musa’s analysis that powerful people are sponsoring terrorists to eliminate people. Church leaders accuse the government of not giving enough attention to security. It is just as the Reverend Zachariah Gado explains. He said that there is a “well-funded, organised and executed campaign, to not only make life unbearable for the entire Southern Kaduna territory through threats, intimidation and psychological warfare, but also to occupy the land through what can only be described as ethno-religious cleansing by Fulani herdsmen militia.”

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An armed Fulani herdsman.

Whole Christian communities are disappearing, being replaced with Fulani Muslims. The Church is bleeding under this Fulani jihad.

Please Pray That the Lord Our God Will:

* draw very near to the Christians in Southern Kaduna — in particular (at this time) those in and displaced from Kaura LGA — as they struggle against fear and despair, and against temptations to hate, to retaliate, and to doubt; may the Lord draw them close and lift their heads, that they will look to him for comfort, justice and security. May the devil have no victory here! May divine grace prove effective as a healer and as a witness.

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” (Psalm 3:3 ESV)

* influence the government of Nigeria, in particular President Muhammadu Buhari and Kaduna Governor Nasir el-Rufai, convicting and energising them to act decisively to:

* strengthen security in Christian regions;

* crack down on the illegal activities of the Fulani; and

* smash the nexus between the Fulani cattle herders, the Islamic militants, rogue Muslims in the military, and powerful Muslim fundamentalist figures (clerics and politicians) with Islamic imperialist ambitions.

Source: Asist News Service



NIGERIA: 45 KILLED IN YET ANOTHER ATTACK ON CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES IN KADUNA

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The aftermath of the 13 Nov. attack, which left 45 dead (mostly women, children and the elderly) in southern Kaduna State. World Watch Monitor

A spate of attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria last weekend left 45 dead and several more injured.
The attacks took place in five villages in the Kauru Local Government Area, in the Middle Belt state of Kaduna – an area mostly populated by Christians, on Sunday 13 November.

Most of the victims were women, children and the elderly, who could not escape the gunfire of the attackers, believed to be Fulani herdsmen. One hundred and twenty houses, including eight house-churches, were burnt down.

A resident of Kitakum (one of the villages), Samuel Adamu, told World Watch Monitor the attackers came at around 7pm local time.

“They laid siege to the village before they started shooting sporadically and throwing explosives at our homes,” he said. “They were armed with guns, knives, machetes and explosives.

“They slaughtered [and] butchered women, children and old people who could not escape.”

Adamu accused the government of failing to stop the persistent attacks that have claimed hundreds of lives in southern Kaduna.

The attacks came a day after the Fulani herdsmen and indigenous communities in Kauru and neighbouring Local Government Areas resolved to live at peace with each other.

That peace-deal ceremony, held in Samaru Kataf, was attended by Kaduna Governor Nasir El -Rufai, who commended the communities and assured that his administration was determined to ensure security of lives and property.

In reaction to the 13 Nov. killings, the state government’s statement condemned the “barbaric” attacks, saying they would not derail ongoing efforts at peace-building in southern Kaduna.

The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) is the main church organisation in Kaduna (950 churches, over 2 million members) and most of the victims were ECWA members. Its Chairman for Kaduna State, at a news conference (16 Nov.), blamed the ongoing violence on a quest for grazing reserves.

“We have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the announced intention of the Kaduna State Government – to re-create existing cattle grazing reserves in southern Kaduna – serves as a major motivation for the renewed ethno-religious violence and cleansing currently being visited on southern Kaduna communities,” said Rev. Zachariah Gado.

ecwa_kaduna_statement

Since March 2013, at least 180 have been killed and 10,000 displaced, while hundreds of properties, including dozens of churches, have been burnt down. World Watch Monitor

He also said last week’s donation by the Kaduna state governor for the reconstruction of churches destroyed during the attacks was a misplaced priority, saying that the money should have been given to security agencies.
“As perpetrators continue to evade consequences for their illegal and violent actions, impunity and lawlessness are becoming entrenched, to the detriment of the entire state,” he said. “Since the violent aftermath of the 2011 Presidential election, there have been increasing indications of the existence of a desperate, well-funded, organised and executed campaign not only to make life unbearable for the entire southern Kaduna territory through threats, intimidation and psychological warfare, but also to occupy the land through what can only be described as ethno-religious cleansing by Fulani herdsmen militia.”

Since March 2013, at least 180 have been killed and 10,000 displaced, while hundreds of properties, including dozens of churches, have been burnt down. Some 16 villages have been overrun by Fulani, who are now fully settled with their cattle and families, noted Gado.

He appealed to both the State and Federal governments to restore all communities taken over by herdsmen to the rightful owners, saying that failure to do so will only encourage further lawlessness.

Zachariah Gado also reiterated his calls for the establishment of a military base in southern Kaduna, to end the killings.

Timeline of recent attacks by Fulani Herdsmen: May-Nov 2016

13 Nov.

45 killed, 120 houses, including eight house-churches, burnt down, as Fulani herdsmen laid siege to five villages (Kigam, Kitakum, Unguwan Magaji , Unguwan Rimi and Kizipi), all in Kauru Local Government Area, about 300km east of Kaduna.

25 Oct.

Attacks on Misisi village (Kaninkon Chiefdom): seven killed, including the village head, 26 houses burnt down. Also, attacks on Pasakori (3km from Misisi): two killed and 16 houses burnt down.

15 Oct.

Godogodo: over 300 militiamen laid siege to the town. The killings and arson continued into 16 October and left 30 dead, 27,819 displaced, 326 injured and 326 homes burnt down, including seven churches. Properties estimated to be worth thousands of dollars were looted and destroyed.

24 Sept.

Godogodo: seven killed as Fulani militia attacked the town (where thousands forcibly displaced from surrounding communities have sought refuge). The next day, an attempted raid was repelled by local vigilantes and security forces.

2 Aug.

Akwa: two killed, 20 buildings burnt down, including churches.

Golgofa: nine killed and the entire town razed to ashes.

1-2 Aug.

Unguwar Anjo village (estimated population 3,500) burnt down. A pastor and a community leader killed among others, two churches, including lots of materials, destroyed.

31 May

Ninte: the entire village burnt down, including three churches, three vehicles and foodstuffs.

Unguwan Kafinta, Dangwa villages attacked: five killed and 298 properties destroyed.

Source: World Watch monitor