Friday, November 05, 2010

NIGERIA – Women and children killed in brutal night raid on Plateau village

Four children and two women were killed when gunmen launched a night-time assault on a Christian village in Plateau State, according to Release partners.

Stefanos Foundation reports that gunmen raided Ranwianku at about 11pm on October 25, shooting at villagers and attacking them with machetes, despite the presence of an army barracks little more than a mile away. Homes were set alight and cattle killed.

One man, Umaru Hole, lost his wife and three children in the attack. The other victims were an elderly woman and a young boy who was brutally attacked with a machete.

Stefanos Foundation will be providing emergency relief and trauma counselling for survivors of the raid with financial support from Release. Ranwianku is 18 miles from the state capital, Jos.

Most eyewitnesses interviewed by Stefanos Foundation said that the gunmen were speaking the Fulani language. Fulani Muslims have been blamed for previous attacks on Christian communities in and around Jos this year. The villagers are all ethnic Irigwe Christians.

Villagers said that all ethnic Fulani people had left the village over the past decade, since tensions had flared between Muslims and Christians in Plateau, although some continued to graze their cattle near Ranwianku.

The funeral for the six victims of the attack was attended by several clergy, a senior military commander and community leaders, many of whom urged villagers not to seek revenge. The military chief assured villagers of his commitment to 'bring lasting peace to the state'.

(Source: Stefanos Foundation)

• Ask God to pour out His love and comfort over the village of Ranwianku – and particularly on the three families who lost loved ones in the raid.
• Pray that Plateau officials, including the military, will remain true to their word and do more to bring lasting peace and protection for vulnerable Christian communities.

Release International, PO Box 54, Orpington, BR5 9RT, UK

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