There has been an alarming rise in Christians killed and kidnapped in the regions of Nigeria where extremists run rampant, including an attack on Christmas Day.
According to Christian Post, one Christian was killed and 53 were kidnapped on Christmas Day in southern Kaduna state, Nigeria.
"Church worship service was about to commence when the attackers arrived at the village riding on motorbikes and shooting sporadically," says area resident James Akawu to the Morning Star.
Akawu says the attack was done by Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists around 10:00 a.m. on December 25. The 53 people that were kidnapped are still missing.
This attack happened just one week after extremist Fulani herdsmen killed 40 Christians in Mallagum in Kaura County on December 18. They also burned down 100 houses, according to sources.
"We’re being attacked again by terrorists," says Jay Awan in a text to Morning Star News. "There are gunshots everywhere again this night. This is worse. Please we need help."
A local pastor, Rev. Stephen Panya Baba, president of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), sent out a prayer request on December 23.
"Right now (9:45 p.m.) there are gunshots from the suspected Fulani herdsmen. The dead were just buried yesterday, Thursday. Now in less than a week, they are back again."
During the funeral of the 40 people killed in Mallagum, Rev. Benjamin Bala recalled the events.
"In this attack, about six families were entirely wiped out," says Bala, concluding that there were multiple other villages attacked at the same time.
People living in Kuara County are leaving the villages because of the attacks. Right now, Kagoro is home to the ECWA Theological Seminary, the ECWA College of Health Technology and several churches.
"Lamentably, the Fulani terrorist attacks have continued unabated as they are heard chanting, ‘Allah Akbar [Allah is greater]’ during the killing and destructive expeditions," says Emmanuel Gandu, a resident of Kagoro.
There are millions of people across Nigeria and the Sahel who are Muslims, and most do not carry an extremist view of harming or attacking others with differing beliefs. However, some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology and it is believed that this group is the one carrying out the attacks on Christians.
In 2022, Nigeria rose from number nine to number seven in which countries around the world are the hardest to live out a Christian faith, according to the World Watch List. There are 98 million Christians living in Nigeria which is 46 per cent of the population.