Thirty-six Nigerian Christians have been killed in attacks reportedly carried about by Islamic Fulani herdsmen in the month of August.
The recent killings, which build on this year’s previously reported death toll of several thousand, have prompted an outcry from locals who accuse the government of inaction and even of supporting the attacks.
“It rained at the time the herdsmen invaded our village,” Judith David, a resident of Machun village in the state of Kaduna, texted Morning Star News. “We all had already gone to houses to sleep when the herdsmen attacked the village, forcing us to flee into the bush in the rain.”
The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs for Kaduna, Samuel Aruwan, put out a statement on the attack. “Police personnel responded to a distress call from Machun village and mobilized there,” he said. “On arrival, they were also alerted by gunshots from neighboring Manuka. As the assailants fled the area, the operatives found the corpses of three victims.”
Rev. Jacob Kwashi, a pastor from the area, has accused the government of being in favor of the attacks.
“We have never seen an evil government in this country like the one of today. The government is fully in support of the bloodshed in Nigeria. We are being killed just because we are not Muslims,” he said.
Kwashi, speaking at a funeral for 17 slain Christians, continued. “These evil Fulani jihadists are enjoying the backing of the government to go about killing people, destroying their houses and farmlands, yet when we try to defend ourselves, the government will go about arresting our people. What kind of justice is this?”
Aruwan, the state official, claimed that the government had actually helped save lives during other attacks on Christians in other villages. “The troops of Operation Safe Haven also rescued 12 persons who were fleeing from the attackers,” he said.
A May report from the U.S. Department of State highlighted the many violations of religious liberty throughout Nigeria and mentioned the high level of violence present in the country.
“The government undertook 20 targeted military operations whose aim it stated was to root out bandits and armed gangs in the region and to arrest perpetrators of communal and criminal violence, but multiple sources stated that the government measures were largely reactive and insufficient to address the violence,” the report stated.
It also noted that in December 2020, “the Secretary of State designated Nigeria a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom …”
Attacks are frequently pinned on the Fulani Herdsmen, a group which CBN news reports as frequently being, “radical Muslims who target Christians in their relentless attacks on villages across the West African country.”
As The Daily Wire reported in July, the killings of Christians in Nigeria this year have nearly matched the number killed last year. Nigeria is also ranked in the top ten of Christian relief organization Open Door’s list for the worst countries for Christian persecution, coming in at number nine. Nigeria ranked highly in all categories, coming in especially strong for the amount of violence.
These attacks come at the same time as many have voiced concerns about the future of Christians in Afghanistan as the Taliban has come to power following the U.S. hasty withdrawal. As The Daily Wire previously reported, the Taliban were allegedly combing through phones to identify Christians.
“We’re hearing from reliable sources that the Taliban demand people’s phones, and if they find a downloaded Bible on your device, they will kill you immediately,” said Dr. Rex Rogers, president of the Christian nonprofit organization SAT-7 North America, according to Religion News Service.
Christians in the region continue to be targeted for religious persecution, often from radical Islamic terrorism.