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Nigeria: Three Christians killed trying to save their village from radical Fulani militants

The crisis of Christian persecution in Nigeria has grown in the face of continued inaction from the Nigerian government and law enforcement apparatus. As Dalyop Solomon says here, “Instead of going in to disarm the Fulanis, they will go after the victims.” As a result, the Muslim Fulani herdsmen, as well as the terrorist group Boko Haram, terrorize and kill Christians in Nigeria with impunity, knowing that in almost all cases there will be little or no significant response from the Nigerian government or military. The Fulani herdsmen have made the situation of Christians in Nigeria a human rights catastrophe of immense proportions.

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, continues to implore the United Nations and the governments of all nations that are committed to human rights and religious freedom to make the plight of Nigeria’s Christians a top priority. The Christians of Nigeria are walking the way of the Cross. May our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ also bless them with the joy of a resurrection and new flourishing of their communities.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria from, see here.

“Nigerian Christians ‘left to their fate’ with no defense from Fulani attacks, victims’ advocate says,” by Jackson Elliott, Christian Post, December 6, 2020:

Three Nigerian Christians were murdered Tuesday while fending off an armed attack by suspected Fulani militants who are also believed to have kidnapped a woman.

A peaceful night turned violent when armed extremists, believed to be affiliated with a Fulani tribe, fired their guns at the Christian village of Gura-Pwana, south of the Nigerian city of Jos, said Swanta Kumai in an interview with the Emancipation Center for Crisis Victims in Nigeria.

The gunfire woke his 28-year-old son, Joseph Swanta, from his sleep. Together, they rushed from their home without weapons in an attempt to frighten the attackers away and warn neighbors. They split up when his son ran to warn neighbors to shut off their loud power generator.

“Unbeknown to him, the attackers had already spotted his movement. When coming out, they went after him with heavy fire and shot him dead,” Kumai said. “The invaders grouped themselves into four, strategically positioned so that no one can dare them. That’s how I saw them shooting at me from a very close range, but I [managed to] escape with bruises [from crawling away.]”

Joseph Swanta served in an unarmed vigilante group that tried to protect Christians from Fulani attacks, ECCVN coordinator Dalyop Solomon told The Christian Post. After the attack, Solomon investigated the aftermath at the village to report what happened.

Nigeria’s laws forbid gun ownership and the police often fail to help Christian villages, so Christians often attempt to defend themselves by trying to intimidate away armed men, he said.

“They hope to rush to the scene of the incident and by storm create an impression that people are not psychologically threatened,” Solomon said. “You can see how suicidal that is.”

Swanta tried to stop the attack along with two other unarmed men, Solomon said. Davou Mwanti, at 59 years old, and Dalyop Davou, a 70 year old. The attackers shot and killed all three.

“[Dalyop Davou] was a watchman killed at his duty post,” his 62-year-old wife, Shetu Davou, told ECCVN. “We had always depended on him for every material need from his earnings. But he is no more today, leaving us to fend for ourselves. I don’t know what to do now.”

Fulani tribesmen killed Davou’s son in a previous attack in 2011. This year, Islamist militias in Nigeria murdered an estimated 1,202 Christians within the first six months of the year. These murders amount to genocide, according to Jubilee Campaign USA, which submitted data and research to the International Criminal Court last year, arguing that the standard for genocide has been reached when it comes to violence against Christians in that country.

“There are reasons behind the government not allowing people to acquire weapons,” said Solomon. “Instead of going in to disarm the Fulanis, they will go after the victims. [Among] the Fulani who in broad daylight threaten individuals, we’ve not heard of any arrests. People will be arrested at the scene of the incident, transferred away and released. That’s encouragement of murder [by the government.]”

Nigeria’s government threatens those who report on the Fulani attacks, according to Solomon, who told CP that police have summoned him several times to ask that he change his reports of Fulani attacks.

During the Dec. 1 attack, the suspects fled after police arrived and returned fire, Solomon said. Photos taken by Solomon show the bodies of two men killed in the attack, lying in the back of a truck, bloodstained beneath morning sunbeams.

“The people are feeling so sad and disappointed because the government has a constitutional obligation to protect the life of all citizens,” Solomon stressed. “The people are left to their fate. They are not allowed to acquire arms to defend themselves, and the government fails in its constitutional duty to protect the people. There is now perpetual fear in the minds of the people. They are armless citizens.”…

Boko Haram terrorists and Fulani militants work together and execute the same sorts of attacks, Solomon said. They attack at the same time in different places to overstretch responders. Nigeria’s government encourages both groups to attack Christians by its indecisiveness….

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