By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) - Ten people, including an infant, have died after armed Islamic Fulani militants continued attacks in areas of Nigeria’s Christian-majority southern Kaduna State, aid workers said.
News just emerged of the July 12-13 violence in which militants of the Fulani ethnic group first overran mainly Christian Atyap communities in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area.
Around 84 percent of the Atyap people are Christians, according to the Barnabas Fund charity, which supports Christians there.
“Two men, aged 70 and 62, died in Magamiya village when gunmen attacked at around 11 p.m.,” the group told Worthy News.
“In a two-hour assault, several homes were looted of valuables and food, which were loaded into four waiting vans. Houses were set on fire, and an attempt was made to burn down the church,” Barnabas Fund added.
The overnight violence on July 12 came while the area still recovered as homes were looted and destroyed in previous attacks on Christian communities last year.
The militants went on “to storm the village of Matyei, killing eight people including an infant,” early July 13, Barnabas Fund added. All 156 homes in the community and its church were burned, explained the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) of local communities.
Soon after, a church and at least a dozen homes were razed in an assault on the nearby community of Abuyab, according to Christians familiar with the situation.
The violence added to a rapidly rising death toll. In earlier assaults on Atyap people in Kaduna State, nine villagers were killed and homes destroyed in Makarau on Sunday, July 11, and nine died in Warkan village on July 9, aid workers said.
SOKAPU stressed that survivors of the recent attacks all identified their assailants as Fulani militants.
The union says that since July 2020, at least 100 Atyap people were killed, about 24 Atyap villages burned, and hundreds of hectares of farmland laid waste by Fulani fighters.
Rights activists have expressed frustration over the Nigerian authorities' perceived unwillingness to intervene and protect Christians. “Not a single Fulani leader has been called for questioning,” SOKAPU added.
The Nigerian government, however, has made clear that it send security forces to troubled regions, but critics claim not enough is done to prevent Islamic violence.