(CNSNews.com) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked villagers in the village of Godogodo, Nigeria on October 15 with guns and machetes, burning down homes, killing more than 40 people and injuring dozens more.
It was the second attack on the predominantly Christian village in as many months.
The Morning Star News’ field reporter in Nigeria, Obed Minchakpu, spoke with villagers who survived the brutal attack. He confirmed to CNSNews.com that the attackers were Muslim Fulani herdsmen who have been targeting Christians for more than two years.
Rev. Thomas Akut, pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Good News Church in Godogodo, told Morning Star News that he and his family barely escaped the massacre.
Reverend Akut added that the attacks have left all 245 members of his congregation homeless, including himself and his family.
“This is a jihad,” Akut said. “It is an Islamic holy war against Christians in the southern part of Kaduna state.”
“They shot and killed my four children,” survivor Peter Atangi told WorldWatch Monitor. “As we ran for our dear lives, they also set our homes on fire. Many of us have been rendered homeless.”
During a previous attack on Godogodo in September, eight men were killed and eight others were wounded by gunshot and machete cuts, village leaders said.
According to World Watch , “a total of more than 300, mainly Christians, have been killed in repeated attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the past five months, while over 5,000 people have been displaced.”
A total of 1,229 people lost their lives in 2014 due to violence by the Fulani herdsmen, which makes them the world’s fourth deadliest militant group in the world, after the Islamic State (ISIL), the Taliban, and Boko Haram, according to the 2015 Global Terrorist Index.
The Index also ranked Nigeria third in the world for suffering “the highest impact of terrorism.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who is himself a Fulani, responded to the previous attacks and violence earlier this year by ordering his security forces to deter attacks by the herdsmen.
But Rev. Danladi Yarima, secretary of the Northern Christian Association of Nigeria, still blames the Nigerian government for not doing enough to prevent the killings by the semi-nomadic Fulanis, who “played a key role in the 19th century revival of Islam in Nigeria,” according to the BBC.
“We are disheartened that despite the re-occurrence of the attack, the government has not come out with a security plan to stop it,” Yarima told WorldWatch Monitor. “We expected that the government should have mobilized more security personnel to the area.
“Every day, Christians are being attacked and their homes and property destroyed. The killings have continued unabated and we are very worried. We urge the government and well-meaning Nigerians to stop the killings.”
Although the violence is said to be a direct consequence of fighting between herdsmen and local farmers over resources such as farmland, grazing areas, and water sources, Godogodo villagers and those affected by the attacks see no difference between the Fulani herdsmen and another militant Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram.
“This is another jihad like the one waged by Boko Haram in the northeast of the country,” Nigerian pastor Rev. Augustine Akpen Lev said.
“The attackers carry sophisticated weapons, sometimes they even used chemical weapons on our communities. They just come, often overnight when people are sleeping. They attack defenseless people and go away. They clearly have an agenda: to wipe out the Christian presence and take over the land.”