By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– An apparently Christian family of seven was murdered when armed Fulani tribesmen attacked a village in Nigeria’s southern Kaduna State, rights investigators said Friday, January 31.
Advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide-Nigeria (CSW-N) said Manyekrun Village in the state’s Kaura Local Government Area (LGA) was attacked late Thursday, January 30, as part of a wider Islamic campaign against Christians.
“The assailants murdered Mr Abin Kaawai, his wife Ruth Abin, and their children, Indip, Emma, Cletus, Bitrus and Dauda,” CSW-N added.
The group said the area is “extremely tense” following the murders, as angry young men reportedly set fire to the homes of some local Fulanis.
Attacks by armed Fulanis, who are mainly Muslim, on villages in the area have apparently increased in frequency and intensity since they were first reported in 2011.
Last year, at least 19 people were killed, an unknown number were injured and an estimated 4000 people displaced when armed Fulanis attacked Mafang and Zilang villages over the Easter weekend, according to rights investigators.
Nine villages were reportedly attacked and around 14 people killed in the Telak District of Kaura LGA on September 13, while on September 27 some 14 people were killed during attacks on Tsokong and Zagwong villages in the Zangang District.
Christians say the increasingly sophisticated weaponry and coordination employed by the assailants, and the fact that both churches and schools were destroyed during attacks in September 2013, have added to fears that the Islamic group Boko Haram is also involved in the violence.
Kaura LGA borders Plateau State and is near areas where night attacks on non-Muslim villages have occurred regularly since 2010, said CSW-N.
This year, two people were killed and sixteen severely injured when gunmen stormed a New Years Eve service at a Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) church in nearby Maikatako village in the Bokkos LGA area.
On January 6 about 33 people were killed, several people were injured, around 40 houses were burned down, and livestock was either slaughtered or looted during an armed attack on Shonong Village in the Bachit District of Bokkos LGA, according to investigators.
The assailants struck the village in the morning, after most men had gone to the fields. Most of the victims were elderly, female or minors.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas criticized authorities saying it was “deeply concerning that the perpetrators are still able to operate with relative impunity in this geographical location.” He said the “long-term absence of security and justice is now engendering reprisal attacks, adding to a general sense of lawlessness.”
Thomas said his group has urged security services to increase protection of remote communities. “Given the geographical proximity of these targeted areas,
any new security arrangements must include a comprehensive and unified strategy encompassing Kaduna and Plateau States and parts of southern Bauchi State, if this is not in place already.”
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, is under pressure to increase security for Christians in the country, especially in areas where Boko Haram and supporters fight for an independent Islamic state and want to introduce Sharia, or Islamic law.