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Herdsmen Kill Over 100 Christians In Benue Recently —Research

Blood On The Altar: Urgent Human Rights Alert And Interim Fact-Finding Report On Nigeria

NIGERIA (INTERIM REPORT AND ALERT)

Our team returned from a recent mission to Nigeria and noted the following

  • Notable situations of concern in Nigeria during a two-week mission:
  1. Killer Fulani Muslim Herdsmen attacks across north central Nigeria. Over 100 Christians killed during the visit
  2. Massive Shiite demonstrations over their Sheikh held prisoner by the government for 2 years led to clashes and at least one death last week
  3. Boko Haram’s continued refusal to release Leah Sharibu – abducted 14 year old Christian Schoolgirl held back because of her refusal of forced conversion to Islam – for over 2 months
  4. Nigerian security forces abuses and attacks including the destruction of Naka village in Benue state last week which they were supposed to protect from Herdsmen

UPDATE OF LATEST ATTACKS

  1. Continuing Shiite protests resulted in another reported death this week
  2. Fulani Herdsmen Attacks on highways led to further deaths this week

7.Fulani Herdsmen massacre at a Catholic Church in Benue State during early morning mass yesterday led to the deaths of approximately 18 parishioners and priests Rev Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha.

Rev Fr Joseph Gor who raised alarm about Fulani herdsmen attack in January was this morning alongside 14 others murdered by suspected herdsmen at St. Ignatius’ Catholic Church, Gwer, Benue State.

TENTATIVE MARTYRS’ LIST

Some names of those killed by Fulani Herdsmen during an early morning mass in the Catholic Church in Mbalom  in Benue State, Nigeria.

  1. Rev Fr Gor
  2. Rev Fr Felix Tyolaha
  3. Micheal Tor
  4. Ape Chia
  5. Judith Tyozee
  6. Tyolaha Bee
  7. Kimbir Bee
  8. Iorlaha Kazevee
  9. Saaondo Bee
  10. Peter Dick
  11. Begi Nomor
  12. Sabastine Michi
  13. Uba Tyorkishu
  14. John Ivor
  15. David Liamzua
  16. Saaondo Zahemen

May their souls find rest with God Almighty.

  • OBSERVATIONS
  1. The massacre of a defenseless church during service goes against every civilized norm in humanity
  2. The church massacre proves beyond doubt that this is a jihad with religious underpinnings and not ostensibly about cattle grazing
  3. The fact that Rev Father Joseph Gor had lamented on insecurity with the influx of herdsmen in a Facebook post in January before his murder proves total Nigerian state failure in its basic duty to protect and reinforces the call for self-defense
  4. Nigeria is clearly unraveling as impunity reigns in the face of genocide
  5. The tear gassing of peaceful BBOG protestors this week in Abuja is condemnable
  6. The deadly clashes with the Shiites is avoidable if the government complied with court orders granting their Sheikh bail. The government is reminded that those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable

RECOMMENDATIONS:

o General Buhari should arrest the killers before leaving for US or in the     alternative cancel his trip and visit Benue State properly

o An immediate stop to the impunity of the KFH and for arrests and prosecutions of all organizations/individuals that have claimed responsibility for previous KFH attacks.

o An immediate stop to attacks by the government on civilians protesting government’s failure to protect them. An immediate stop to the harassment, intimidation and demonization of the victims, people and state officials of Benue State by the Federal Government.

o Compensation to the victims of these and past attacks.

o Investigations into all reported KFH attacks.

o Resignation of the current Nigerian Defense Minister who has justified the killings

o Removal of the Inspector General of Police for inability to conduct a logical investigation, to detect or prevent attacks, to protect and provide for his men.

o Reconstitution of members of the Nigerian National Security Council to ensure equity, balance and fair representation from the current composition of 90% Muslims in violation of the constitution

o An immediate stop to the entry of Fulani and cattle from outside Nigeria’s borders.

o An immediate disarming of all herdsmen

o Registration of herdsmen and cattle owners

o A comprehensive stakeholder consultation and master plan on curtailing the KFH security crisis.

o Recognition of KFH attacks as terroristic in nature and requiring urgent security attention to preempt wider avoidable national conflagration.

o People urged to phone the White House (+12024561414) to press General Buhari to stop the killings during his upcoming visit

o US to designate the Herdsmen organizations which have justified the killings as FTOs

o US to apportion aid announced to Nigeria to include assistance to victims in Benue and North Central Nigeria

o US to demand from President Buhari the immediate release of Christian Schoolgirl hostage Leah Sharibu held back by Boko Haram for two months now for refusing to denounce Christ.

o US to demand the release of Shiite leader Sheikh El Zak Zaky and his wife held in defiance of court orders for 2 years now by the government

“What cannot be said at this point is the consequences of the death of missionaries in the silent killings that have been siloed by the government for over a year. The diocese has been active in providing relief materials including education and skills acquisition lessons. To go for the priests means total destruction of everything we stand for and believe in!” – Rev Moses Iorpuu, Director of Communication Catholic Diocese

On Easter we worshipped at a church bombed by Boko Haram and reunited with victims’ families after several years (one widow has died since our last visit)

By Emmanuel Ogebe

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