Earlier this week, Christians traveling home following church services near the city of Jos, Nigeria were ambushed by terrorists who murdered at least thirty congregants.
The Sun of Nigeria reports that the violence erupted in communities of Dutse Uku, Angwan Rukuba, and Rikkos, in the Nigerian state of Plateau.
“We have received reports of tension around Dutse Uku, Rikkos, Cele Bridge and we have mobilized our personnel to the area,” Police Public Relation Officer DSP Mathias Terna Tyopev told The Sun. “As we speak, the Area Commander, Jos Metropolis is there on the ground. We are still on the trouble spots to bring the situation under control, I can’t guarantee you that I will issue a statement today but until I return from the area.”
Locals have accused radical Islamic Fulani herdsmen of attacking the Christian communities in their ongoing plan to create a “Fulanisation and Islamization” in the African nation.
Jos city pastor Luke Shehu told Morning Star News, “Despite the intervention of security operatives, in less than twelve hours about thirty Christians were killed and over twenty houses where burnt or destroyed by Muslim militia, some in military uniforms from around Tina junction, Cele bridge, Dutse Uku, and Nasarawa areas, all bordering Muslim communities in Jos North.”
He continued, “These targeted attacks on innocent Christians are unacceptable, particularly with confirmed arrests of over thirty Christian women fruit and food vendors by soldiers around Tina junction in Jos after the attack today, 27th May 2019.”
This comes on the heels of seven Christians being kidnapped from choir practice at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in the village of Dankande in Nigeria’s Kaduna state, which saw at least one congregant murdered.
An unidentified witness told Sahara Reporters, “As we were in the church, the armed men numbering over twenty just surrounded the church and started shooting. Everybody was terrified but there was no how we could run because they had already surrounded the church.”
Rev. Nathaniel Waziri confirmed that minister Zakariya Ido was taken with his daughter and fifteen other worshippers, including ten women and five men.
“The gunmen came and asked everyone in the church to surrender phones and thereafter demanded the whereabout of the pastor,” he told Morning Star News. “After threatening the choristers, they became afraid and showed them the pastor’s house.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to the attacks by purposing an executive order that would revoke gun licenses, but many Christians see this as an attempt to disarm them in the face of heavily armed radical Muslim.
One survivor of the attacks, identified only as Aisha, told Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors that she and others have been sexually assaulted during the ongoing struggle.
“And, as I said before, Iʼm not the only one in my community — many other women have been raped. We are weak, as women,” Aisha said. “We do not have strength to fight back, and the attackers have [a] great advantage over us. We are not [educated] and don’t have the money to reach out and tell the world what is happening.”
She added, “Continue to pray for us. Pray also for me. I really want to go to school. I was in school before. I dropped out because of finances. Iʼm not going to school, and my children are not going to school. If thereʼs one thing I desire in this life, it is to go back to school. I want my children to have an education. Please pray for that.”