ABUJA, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Five Christians were killed on Jan. 17 in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state, while a church leader in the southeastern state of Enugu said Christians there were “under siege.”
In southern Kaduna state’s Zonkwa town, Zangon Kataf County, terrorists attacked at about 8 p.m. on Jan. 17, said local council official Yabo Ephraim. He identified one of the slain as Calistus Eze.
“The terrorists shot sporadically as they made their way into the town, killing five Christians and injuring many others,” Ephraim said. “The injured victims are currently receiving treatment at some separate medical facilities.”
Leaders of the Catholic Church’s Kafanchan Diocese in southern Kaduna state, where the attack occurred, said a requiem Mass was held on Thursday (Jan. 19) for the five Catholics slain.
On the same day, suspected Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists attacked St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Kaduna state’s Ikulu-Pari village, Kauru County, and kidnapped a parish catechist. Area resident Epharim Sheyin identified the teacher as Kefas Ishaya and the assailants who took him away at gunpoint as “Muslim terrorists.”
Sunday Bege, chairman of the church’s laity council, said “armed terrorists” took Ishaya away.
“And as they left, they were shooting sporadically at anyone they sighted,” Bege said, adding that the same church’s parish priest, the Rev. Joseph Shekari, was kidnapped on Feb. 6, 2022 and church worker Sati Musa was killed.
Shekari, kidnapped while ministering away from the church premises, was released after church leaders paid a ransom, Bege said.
“It’s possible they’ve returned for a similar mission to kidnapped the priest again, but they couldn’t find him,” he said. “The catechist, who’s on the church’s pastoral team, has been taken away by the terrorists. We are yet to contacted by the terrorists.”
In southeast Nigeria’s Enugu state, suspected Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists kidnapped four Christians on Jan. 17 and Jan. 19 in Ikem of Isi-uzo County, an area resident said.
On Jan. 16, eight armed terrorists attacked Emeka Odoh and four others as they were driving out of Ikem, Odoh said.
“Our car was riddled with bullets, and one of us was shot and wounded,” Odoh told Morning Star News. “Four of us in the car escaped unhurt.”
On Jan. 17 the terrorists kidnapped a Christian from Ikem, he said, and they returned on Jan. 19.
“The gunmen returned for the third time, this time at night, kidnapped three additional Christians and shot one other Christian whom they abandoned,” Odoh said. “He’s currently being treated at a hospital.”
He added that last year a lay leader of the Catholic Church in Ikem was among Christians kidnapped.
“A catechist was last year kidnapped when the herdsmen and terrorists attacked Ikem three times,” Odoh said. “The catechist and two other members of the church were kidnapped. The three were only released after ransom in various sums were paid to the herdsmen and terrorists.”
In the area’s predominantly Christian Eha-Amufu village, herdsmen and other terrorists mounted attacks in late December that resulted in the deaths of more than 100 Christians, a local leader said.
“Within the last few weeks, over 100 Christians have been slaughtered in Eha-Amufu, and this cuts across all ages,” community leader Okwu Nnabuike said in a press statement at that time. “We are unhappy as no word has come from the federal government as a form of sympathy to those affected. The herdsmen must be stopped from wreaking further havoc forthwith.”
Nnabuike said the “killer herdsmen” were trying to push villagers from their ancestral lands.
“This has to end; the security agencies must show the world that they are not part of what is happening,” he said. “For the umpteenth time, we call on the federal government-controlled security agencies to disarm the AK-47 wielding herdsmen who are slaughtering our people.”
The Rev. Daniel Olinya, Anglican bishop of Ehamufu Diocese, confirmed the killings, saying, “Christians in Enugu state are currently under siege from the terrorists and armed Fulani herdsmen.”