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Fear Grips Christian Villages After Suspected Islamists Assassinate Mayor, Slaughter Christians

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Amos Akila, the mayor of the Mazat community, is among seven recent victims of land-grabbing terrorists laying waste to dozens of villages in Plateau State in North Central Nigeria, according to lawmakers speaking to Truth Nigeria.

Akila was murdered shortly before midday June 27 while handling farming chores on his farm in Barkin Ladi County in Plateau State, according to his son, Mabweh Akila,who witnessed the incident.

“They came on three motorcycles — three to one — all of them armed,” Akila told Truth Nigeria.

“They all had guns,” Akila said. “They passed many people on their farms and left without hurting me or anyone else after firing several bullets to his chest,” he said in a distraught voice.

Senator Simon Mwadkwon, who represents Plateau North at the Nigerian Senate, told Truth Nigeria in a text message that “[Communities] are more [vulnerable] when the leader is killed.”

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“When the captain of the ship is dead, the ship is likely to sink.”

“For him [Akila] to have been singled out and killed shows the killers planned this dastardly act,” Mwadkwon wrote, alleging the goal of terrorists attacking town leaders is to seize and enslave communities.

Hours after the attack on Akila, dozens of Fulani-speaking terrorists armed with automatic rifles launched an attack on the villages of Konji and Kerang Tsoho in Mangu County, around 10 p.m. local time, witnesses told Truth Nigeria.

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At the time of the assault, approximately 300 residents of the two villages were preparing to sleep. A witness, Sunday Dankaka, said civilian watchers engaged in a prolonged battle using homemade single-shot rifles, slowing down the invasion and allowing women and children to escape, resulting in fewer casualties.

“They first came around 6 p.m. and hid in the mountains surrounding the villages,” Dankaka said. “We reported to security forces and started making local arrangements to ward off the threat, but by 10 p.m., we started hearing gunshots,” Dankaka said in a telephone interview with Truth Nigeria.

“Our youths did their best, but one man and his son were killed in Kerang Tsoho, and four members of a family were killed in Konji before they could escape,” he said.

The death of Akila and the six others has heightened concerns that terrorists are attempting to seize control of villages throughout the state and enforce Islamic rule in the region, located 35 miles south of the Plateau state’s capital city of Jos, according to intelligence sources speaking to Truth Nigeria.

The attack sent the 10,000 residents in the area into fear and apprehension, causing many to relocate to safer zones.

State Governor Caleb Mutfwang expressed concern that the terror raids, which have claimed the lives of more than 502 residents since January, are aimed at religious cleansing.

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The terrorists raided the farming village of Pushit, in Mangu County, around 10 p.m. local time on July 1, intending to find remaining Christians, according to locals. But when they discovered that there were none, they resorted to burning houses, said Alexandria Dyendi, a displaced resident speaking to Truth Nigeria by text messages.

“The Fulanis burned all of our houses and we are completely helpless and homeless,” she wrote.

Earlier that day, Fulani terrorists allegedly targeted Christians working on their farms approximately 30 miles southwest of Jos, according to tribal leader Rwang Tengwong in an interview with Truth Nigeria.

According to Tengwong, the terrorists, armed with assault rifles, destroyed crops across more than 150 acres of farmland belonging to Christians after failing to locate Christian victims during the afternoon raid.

“They came shooting and despoiling crops, but our people had anticipated their coming and avoided the farms,” Tengwong said, noting the incident was the latest attempt at waging a hunger war against residents.

More than 3,000 acres of cropland have been despoiled across the state since January in similar raids, he said.

A day prior to the incident, another group of terrorists allegedly set ablaze over 40 houses as they pursued Christians in the eastern area of Mangu County.

Attacks in Mangu had been ongoing since May 16, resulting in the death of more than 200 residents, according to reports.

More than 30,000 residents have also been displaced from at least 30 villages, local media have reported.  Thousands of Christians displaced by ongoing violent attacks in central Nigeria’s Plateau State since May 16 have yet to return home.

During the last 14 years, more than 1,000 Christian villages have been captured by terrorists across Nigeria, resulting in the deaths of at least 53,750 residents, according to the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), an international nonprofit organization that tracks crimes.

So far this year, the death toll from ongoing attacks has surpassed 2,500, according to the organization.

Newly elected Plateau Gov. Caleb Mutfwang denounced the attacks as an organized effort to ethnically cleanse Christian residents from his majority-Christian state.

“What we are seeing is clear, orchestrated genocide,” said Mutfwang, who took charge of the State on May 29.

“What we are seeing is a plan to wipe out numbers of [Christians],” Mutfwang said, disputing popular claims, including by the U.S. State Department, that the attacks are part of ongoing clashes between local farmers and herders.

“A situation where people are sleeping in their houses and are killed in the night cannot be said to be a clash,” he said.

The attacks in Plateau State and other states in the middle belt region have been attributed to herding groups belonging to the Fulani ethnic group.

The Fulani tribe, primarily consisting of Muslims, reportedly has over 10 million members in Nigeria. A radicalized subgroup of this ethnicity has been accused of causing three times more Christian casualties compared to the Boko Haram Islamist militant organization in recent years.

Global rights activists have called for local and international interventions to stop the spreading violence and avert an Islamic caliphate in Africa’s most populous country.

“I think we ought to believe the political leaders speaking about the violence in Nigeria,” said Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians.

“As Plateau’s Governor Caleb Mutfwang has claimed, the violence currently raging in his state, Benue and elsewhere in Nigeria is not ‘farmer/herder clashes’ over tribal or ethnic loyalties and sparse resources,” said Laugesen in a statement to Truth Nigeria.

“It is, without doubt, genocidal jihad targeting peaceful, often sleeping or worshiping, Christian farmers with intent to exile them and take their property,” Laugesen said.

“Indeed, former Kaduna Governor Nasir El Rufai recently confirmed these allegations in remarks made to a so-called ‘friendly’ audience. It’s way past time for the international community to stop giving cover to the jihadists at the helm in Nigeria and recognize the violence for what it is — the slaughter of Christians and any moderate Muslims who get in the way,” she noted.

Judd Saul, the founder and chief executive of Equipping the Persecuted, a U.S.-based nonprofit in Iowa, also told Truth Nigeria, “There is no need for this senseless violence.”

“I’d like to plead with the leadership in the Nigerian government to stand up and defend the innocent,” wrote Saul in a text message.

“The world is watching,” Saul texted.

Reports from Truth Nigeria are based on local eyewitness accounts and testimony. The Western Journal has not independently verified this article.

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TruthNigeria.com is a project of Equipping the Persecuted, a humanitarian aid nonprofit chartered in Sioux City, Iowa, since 2019.




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