Two Nigerian churches attacked; faithful killed, kidnapped – Le Journal

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Witnesses and an official say three people were shot dead in northwestern Nigeria after gunmen attacked two churches in the troubled region

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Gunmen attacked two churches in rural northwest Nigeria on Sunday, killing three people, witnesses and a state official said, weeks after a similar attack in this West African country has claimed 40 lives.

The attack in Kajuru area of ​​Kaduna state targeted four villages, resulting in the abduction of an unknown number of residents and the destruction of homes before the attackers managed to escape, indicated by the inhabitants.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack on the Kaduna churches. Much of Nigeria is grappling with security concerns, with Kaduna being one of the worst affected states. At least 32 people were killed in the Kajuru area last week in an attack that lasted for hours in four villages.

Worshipers were attending religious service at Maranatha Baptist Church and St. Moses Catholic Church in the Rubu community of Kaduna on Sunday morning when “they (the attackers) just came and surrounded the churches” both located in the same area, said Usman Danladi, who lives nearby.

“Before they (the faithful) noticed it, they were already terrorizing them; some started attacking inside the church and then others moved to other areas,” Danladi said. He added that “most of the abducted victims are from the Baptist church while the three killed were Catholics”.

The Kaduna state government confirmed the three deaths by bandits who “stormed the villages on motorbikes, starting with Ungwan Fada, and moving towards Ungwan Turawa, before Ungwan Makama and then Rubu”. Security patrols are being conducted in the general area” as investigations progress, according to Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna’s security commissioner.

The Christian Association of Nigeria condemned Sunday’s attacks and said churches in Nigeria had become “targets” of armed groups.

“It is very regrettable that while we have not yet emerged from the mourning of those killed in Owo two Sundays ago, another has occurred in Kaduna,” said Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, spokesperson for the association, to the Associated Press. “It has become a recurring decimal.”

Many attacks targeting rural areas of Nigeria’s troubled northern region are similar. Gunmen on motorbikes often arrive in the hundreds in areas where Nigerian security forces are outnumbered and outgunned. It usually takes months for police to make arrests and authorities have identified the attackers as mostly young herders from the Fulani tribe caught up in Nigeria’s pastoral conflict between host communities and herdsmen over limited access to water and land.

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