Muslim Militants Attack Three Christian Villages in Northern Nigeria

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Seven Killed, 140 Families Displaced in Violent Conflict
by Obed Minchakpu

PERO-SHENGE, Nigeria (Compass) -- Over 100 well-armed Muslim militants swarmed into three Christian villages in northern Nigeria on Monday, August 25. Seven people were reportedly killed, 30 homes burned and 140 families displaced when the attackers invaded the villages about 8 p.m., setting houses ablaze and destroying food items in storage facilities.

The attack on the villages of Pamadu, Kwale and Janye in the Pero-Shenge local government area of Gombe state marks the second violent clash in the area.

Dr. Ishaku Iliya, chairman of the local government council, told journalists at a press conference at Pamuda village that seven other persons were seriously wounded by Muslim militants. They are now receiving treatment at a hospital in Filiya.

“This is the most cruel attack on a community I have ever seen in my life,” he said. According to Iliya, the militants also carted away the villagers’ personal property and about a hundred head of cattle worth thousands of dollars.

He told journalists that militants carried out a similar attack in the area last year. One person was killed and several others were wounded.

Mr. Lazarus Yoriyo, deputy governor of Gombe state, described the attack on the Christian villages as “most unfortunate.” He told journalists that the state government would ensure that this threat to peace is checked through adequate protection of lives and property.

“We will certainly not fold our arms and watch these kinds of terrible, unjust things happen to our people,” he said while visiting the affected villages.

Since the introduction of the Islamic legal code in northern Nigeria, Muslim militants have often attacked areas where Christians are living when Christians resist the enforcement of Islamic law.

Gombe is one of 12 states implementing Islamic law in northern Nigeria. A number of persons, including Christians, have been jailed for flouting Islamic law.