One pastor says, “This is a jihad. It is an Islamic holy war against Christians in the southern part of Kaduna state.”
By Dani Miskell, Special to ASSIST News Service
GODOGODO, NORTHERN NIGERIA (ANS – November 2, 2016) – Some 40 Christians were attacked on October 15th, in the town Godogodo located in northern Nigeria. Their attackers were Muslim Fulani herdsman.
According to Morning Star News, area leaders had reported them for being responsible for a similar attack three weeks earlier where eight were killed by way of gunshots and machete cuts.
The massacre of these Christians began at 5pm, and according to the Godogodo residents, they came only two hours after a Morning Star News reporting team had just left the area investigating the September attack.
Burned down houses and shot Christians dead
The assailants proceeded to burn down houses and shot Christians dead over the course of the weekend.
41-year-old Rev. Thomas Akut, a pastor of the of Evangelical (ECWA) Church Winning All Good News Church in Godogodo, witnessed 22 Christians being killed. He was able to escape harm with his family and bring it to the attention of the Morning Star News by phone the following day, Sunday October 16th. They slept on the ground and waited until morning to make their way into Kafanchan.
“We fled into the bushes, and some of us escaped to safer areas,” he said. “The attackers were in the hundreds and were well armed. Some of them wore army uniforms, while others wore police uniforms. Some of them exchanged gunfire with the few soldiers stationed at the post office in the town, while others burned down houses of Christians.”
Pastor Akut had noted that his number figure of casualties only accounted for those he saw the morning of his escape. He says, “The number of deaths may be higher as many were killed in the bushes too.”
Two days after the attack (on Monday, October 17th), attorney and president of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, Solomon Musa, spoke at a press conference, claiming that the death count was at least 40. Musa spoke of the attack as “fierce, terrifying, brutal, savage and barbarous.” He also said that there was an absence of government aid and protection, leaving the locals helpless to defend themselves.
“So far, the locals have been able to identify no less than 40 corpses, aside from several other corpses burnt beyond recognition. Nearly all the houses in Godogodo have been burned, and the Muslim Fulani herdsmen also destroyed property worth hundreds of millions of naira [Nigerian currency], besides grazing their cattle on farmers’ crops and destroying what remained. Yet, governments at the federal and state levels appear quiet and noncommittal. We have been abandoned, deserted and neglected.”
One of the survivors of the attack was Pastor Isaac Balason of Nasara Baptist Church, Godogodo. He spoke at the time to Morning Star News via phone while in hiding during the attack.
“It is now 8:30 p.m., and the attack is ongoing. We’re not sure we’ll survive this time. Please be in prayers with us,” he said.
The herdsman had burned down houses in Angwan Ninzo and Angwan Jaba that night.
“Thank God we survived, but many others have lost their lives,” he added.
Wounded Son Loses Father
Along with the local neighborhoods being destroyed, the Fulani herdsman attacked 16 church buildings and worship centers as well. Christian leaders in Godogodo informed Morning Star News of the following buildings affected:
St. Francis Catholic Church, St. Simeon Anglican Church, Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Deeper Life Bible Church, Grace of God Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Assemblies of God Church, ECWA I & II, ECWA Good News, ECWA Kibam, Lord’s Chosen Church, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Nasara Baptist Church, Christ Apostolic Church, and Seventh-day Adventist Church.
A number of pastors and congregation members, who serve in these churches, have come forward to speak of their displacement from these attacks.
Pastor Akut said the herdsmen destroyed Christian farms as a tactic to displace Christians and starve the survivors to death. Akut accounted for himself, along with all 245 members of his church, now having been displaced by the attacks.
“Our farms have been destroyed. Crops that are now ready for harvest have all been destroyed by the herdsmen… Members of our churches cannot even go to these farms, as anyone who attempts to do so is murdered by the herdsmen. Most of the villages around Godogodo have been destroyed and thousands of Christians displaced.”
Akut calls these attacks spiritual warfare and Islam’s way of declaring war against Christians, and went on to state, “This is a jihad. It is an Islamic holy war against Christians in the southern part of Kaduna state.”
Pastor Balason, who serves the Nasara Baptist Church and its 120 members, is among the displaced.
“Three out my 120 members were killed during the first attack, and the rest, including myself, have been displaced,” he said. “I cannot say whether they all survived this latest attack, as it is difficult at this moment to know the situation they are in.”
Samuel Musa, an elder with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Godogodo, told Morning Star News that their services usually held 50 members. But following the attacks, it was only himself and three others who had survived.
“We have lost so much to the attacks by the herdsmen,” Musa said.
Ishaya Danladi Mallam, 46, an elder with the Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC), also spoke to Morning Star News of the drastic amount of members that had been displaced from the first attack. Only 24 were accounted for out of their 220 members.
“We covet your prayers and those of other brethren,” he said. “We are facing very threatening, tough times.”
The following are those who have been killed and identified in the first attack:
Ajiya Hamza, 20; Monday Hamza, 18; Musa Gwari, 45; Joseph Nok, 46; Luka Ali, 22; Ishaku Ali, 26; Ikechukwu James, 30; and Daniel Silas, 30.
The following are those who have been wounded, and three are currently received treatment at Jos University Teaching Hospital; five at the Throne-room Hospital, Kafanchan:
Baba Joseph Nok, 20, whose father was killed in the attack; Menshack Waziri, 22; Gideon Peter, 29; Solomon John, 41. Others injured were Blessed Musa, 35; Inuwa Tanet, 32; Abba Samuel, 30; and, Uba Monday, 28.
For more information, please go to: http://morningstarnews.org/.
Photo captions: 1) Ajiya Hamza, 20, was killed in Sept. 24-26 attack in Godogodo by Muslim Fulani herdsmen. (Morning Star News). 2) Fulani herdsmen on the attack. 3) A Fulani herdsman with his deadly weapon. 4) Dani Miskell.
About the writer: Dani Miskell has her BA in Journalism and double minor in Music & Religion from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California. She is a former music blog writer and on-camera hostess, and recently has moved her efforts as a media correspondent towards the nonprofit sector where she produces videos about Fair Trade awareness. She is an avid freelance writer in Los Angeles, volunteering to do PR for local events and outreaches as well as enjoying writing recreationally through her writers’ club. She is an aspiring humanitarian through journalism, and her passion for religious freedoms and rights has brought her to join as a staff writer for the ASSIST News Service once again. Her e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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