Gunmen attacked two churches in rural northwestern Nigeria on Sunday, killing three people, witnesses and a government official said, weeks after a similar attack in the West African country killed 40 worshipers.
The attack in the Kajuru area of Kaduna state targeted four villages, leading to the abduction of an unspecified number of residents and the destruction of houses before the attackers escaped, local residents said.
It was not clear who was behind the attack on the Kaduna churches. Much of Nigeria has struggled with security issues, with Kaduna as one of the states hardest hit. At least 32 people were killed in the Kajuru area last week in an attack that lasted for hours over four villages.
Worshipers held the church service at the Maranatha Baptist Church and St. Moses attended Catholic Church in the Rubu community of Kaduna when attackers “just came and surrounded the churches,” both located in the same area, said Usman Danladi, who lives. near.
“Before them [worshippers] noticed, they were already terrorizing them; some started attacking inside the church, then others continued to other areas, “Danladi said. He added that” most of the casualties abducted came from the Baptists. [church]while the three murdered were Catholics. “
The Kaduna state government confirmed the three deaths by bandits who “stormed the villages on motorcycles, starting from Ungwan Fada, and moving into Ungwan Turawa, before Ungwan Makama and then Rubu. Security patrols are being conducted in the general area” while investigations continue , according to Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna Commissioner for Security.
The Christian Association of Nigeria condemned Sunday’s attacks and said churches in Nigeria had become “targets” of armed groups.
“It is very unfortunate that when we have not yet recovered from the mourning of those who were killed in Owo two Sundays, another happened in Kaduna,” Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the association’s spokesman, told The Associated Press.
Many of the attacks targeting rural areas in Nigeria’s difficult northern region are similar. The armed men who ride motorcycles often arrive in the hundreds in areas where Nigeria’s security forces have been overrun and overrun. It usually takes months for the police to make arrests.
Authorities have identified the attackers as mostly young herdsmen of the Fulani tribe trapped in Nigeria’s pastoral conflict between host communities and herdsmen over limited access to water and land.