By Masara Kim, reporting from Jos
Thousands of Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region are currently homeless following a daylight attack by Muslim militants on 26 April, which killed at least 21 people.
According to local sources, dozens of armed men in multiple groups stormed four farming towns on the boundaries of Kaduna and Plateau States at about 4pm local time, shooting and burning houses.
Ezekiel Isa, a resident of one of the towns in southeastern Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, said the attacks in all four towns occurred simultaneously.
“We suddenly heard gunshots everywhere and started running,” he said.
Isa said the attackers shot 21 people, including elderly people, and burned dozens of houses as the over 2000 residents of the towns fled. For five hours, the onslaught continued unhindered under the watch of a Muslim-led military task force.
"The STF [Special Task Force] are in one village not far away but they came around 9pm after the attackers had left," Isa said.
“Our houses, food barns, and everything we owned was destroyed,” said the distraught resident, who noted the attackers spoke Fulani dialect.
Tens of thousands of Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt have been killed in Fulani militia attacks in the past ten years. The attacks have driven millions of people out of their homes, and many communities have been occupied by the attackers.
The attack was intended by the terrorists to capture territories for the forceful expansion of Islam, said a tribal spokesman, Davidson Malison.
“It is no doubt that it was a coordinated attack targeted at achieving their expansionist agenda and the total annihilation of Rigwe [a Christian people group]
irrespective of where they live,” wrote Malison in a press statement.
Officials had yet to comment on the attack as of publishing time.