ABUJA, NigeriaDecember 27, 2022 (Morning Star News) – On December 17, Fulani herdsmen killed three Christians while working on their farm in Benue state, Nigeria, the sources said.

“The three affected victims, who were men and Christians, were killed on a farm” in Adaka village, Guma county, said Paul Hemba, special adviser to the Benue state governor on security issues. “The three victims were attacked with machetes, since their corpses presented wounds from machete cuts. The villagers said that recently they have been under constant attacks from the Fulani herdsmen.

Armed herders have also been destroying villagers’ crops, he said, adding: “These are some of the terrible things that farmers in Benue State have faced over the years.”

Adaka area resident Benedict Ayem also identified the assailants as herdsmen.

“A group of armed Fulani Muslim herdsmen on Saturday, December 17, attacked the village of Adaka, a Christian community located 20 kilometers [12 miles] far from Makurdi, the capital of Benue state,” Ayem told Morning Star News in a text message. “The pastors killed three Christian farmers who were working on their farms.”

In Guma county’s Yelewata village, herdsmen killed a Christian man, his wife and a daughter on November 29 and injured another daughter while working on their farm, area sources said.

“The herdsmen attacked a Christian family of four working on their farm,” Yelewata resident Agav Ngugar told Morning Star News in a text message. “A man, his wife and his daughter were killed by the herders, while a fourth victim, a second daughter of the family, escaped with machete wounds.”

Ngugar identified the victims as Clement Ukertor, his wife Christiana Ukertor and their 17-year-old daughter Dooyum Ukertor.

“The fourth victim, 20-year-old Blessing Ukertor, was seriously injured during the attack and remains in hospital for machete-inflicted wounds,” it said.

The family belongs to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Yelewata, where Christiana Ukertor served as president of St. Joseph’s Catholic Mission in Yelwata, Ngugar said.

Frank Utoo, assistant governor of Benue state, confirmed the attack in a text message to Morning Star News.

“Blessing, the second daughter who was also on the farm, was lucky to have survived with deep machete cuts all over her body,” Utoo said. “She is still in the hospital and being treated for machete cut injuries.”

Police spokeswoman Catherine Anene said officers had been dispatched to both areas.

“Security agencies, including police personnel, have been deployed in the area to stem the wave of incessant attacks against communities in those areas of the state,” Anene told Morning Star News in a text message.

With millions in Nigeria and the Sahel, the predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans from many different lineages that do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.

“They adopt a strategy comparable to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe the herdsmen’s attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to seize land from Christians by force and impose Islam, as desertification it has made it difficult for them to keep their flocks.

Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021) with 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to the Open Doors 2022 World Watch List report. . The number of kidnapped Christians was also higher in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the year before, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria trails behind China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

On the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking, from number 9 the year before.

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Article originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.

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