Nigeria: Christian youths attacked by Islamist militias, CSI provides aid

Five Christian youths have been killed and several injured in two brutal attacks by Fulani militants in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna. CSI is covering the victims’ medical costs.

It was 8 p.m. on the night of March 23 and growing dark; the market traders had all gone home. Senior secondary school pupil Henry Jonathan, 20, was in the market square of the village of Gora hanging out with some friends when they heard gunshots close by. At first the friends didn’t realize they were being attacked. But then one of the group shouted out that he had been shot.

“When we saw him lying there in a pool of blood all of us started running,” recalled Henry. The next thing he knew, he was on the ground having been shot in his left leg and buttock.

Benjamin Peter, a farmer aged 19, was part of a separate group of three men and one woman. The young woman was shot dead while Benjamin suffered bullet wounds to his stomach.

In all, three young people died and five were injured in the Gora attack.

The following month the Fulani struck again, killing two and injuring three in another village, Attat Masirga on April 22. Victim Micah Mathew, aged 22, was hit in the shoulder. “I thank God I’m alive today,” Micah told CSI’s project partner from his hospital bed.

Henry, Benjamin and Micah have all undergone surgery paid for by CSI.

“We shall kill you”

“We could not see the attackers, but we heard their war chant in the Hausa language, ‘mun zo maku yau sai munkashe ku duka, Allahu akabar’, meaning, ‘we have come for you today and we shall kill all of you, God is great’,” said Henry.

From the jihadist war cry the youths deduced their attackers were Islamist Fulanis, nomads who have begun moving into the area to graze their cattle – often on farmland.

“The Fulani were living close to us before but now they have shifted to the outskirts of the village,” added Benjamin.

“The Fulani herdsmen have been terrorizing us for quite some time now. Last year they killed an old man on his farm who was reprimanding them for destroying his crops,” he explained.

In the case of both Henry and Benjamin their mothers have been widowed and are struggling to raise their families on a single income. Without the support of CSI they would not have been able to afford their sons’ surgery.

CSI is supporting more than 600 families who have been displaced by Fulani attacks in the Catholic diocese of Kafanchan in Kaduna, providing foodstuffs including beans, maize and rice and ensuring that no one goes hungry.