JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 13 Christians in Plateau state, Nigeria on Wednesday (Jan. 8), the same day four students were kidnapped from a Catholic seminary in Kaduna state.
About 20 herdsmen attacked the predominantly Christian village of Kulben, in Plateau state’s Mangu County, at about 8 p.m., area residents told Morning Star News. The 13 dead were all members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), as were three people wounded in the assault, they said.
“They were shooting with guns in all directions, forcing the villagers to scamper into surrounding bushes,” area resident Michael Mutding, 40, told Morning Star News in a text message. “Corpses of those killed have been evacuated by soldiers and police to the mortuary of Mangu Cottage Hospital; and all the victims are members of COCIN.”
Bala Fwengje, a legislator representing the area in the Plateau State House of Assembly, said in a statement that the attacks came in spite of efforts by security agencies.
“This attack on my people by these herdsmen comes as a rude shock to us, as efforts have been made by security agencies to curtail such incessant attacks on our people,” Fwengje said. “It is a sad thing that these attacks are still being carried out by the herdsmen on our people without provocation.”
Audu Tetmut, a 60-year-old area leader of the Christian community, said there had never been any problem between his people and herdsmen living in the area.
“Our community had lived peacefully with the herdsmen without any issues of dispute with them,” Tetmut told Morning Star News. “So we are surprised that they attacked us.”
Plateau state Gov. Simon Bako Lalong on Thursday (Jan. 9) vowed to bring the guilty to justice.
“We have toiled to ensure that peace returns to Plateau state, and we will not allow anyone to make nonsense of our efforts,” Lalong said. “We are determined to deal decisively and firmly with anybody found culpable in attacking or inciting people to carry out attacks against one another.”
Plateau State Command spokesman Terna Tyopev confirmed the attack in a statement on Thursday.
“We received a distress call that gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked Kulben community of Kombun District of Mangu,” he said. “As a result, 13 persons lost their lives and three were severely injured…Our team of detectives and other officers are on the scene of the crime to prevent further attacks.”
Seminary Students Kidnapped
Outside Kaduna city, capital of Kaduna state, four students were kidnapped from The Good Shepherd Catholic Major Seminary on Wednesday night (Jan. 8), an official said.
“Armed bandits” abducted the seminarians after the assailants shot sporadically at students, professors and staff members between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., according to the Rev. Joel Usman, registrar of the institution.