At least 27 people have died following recent attacks by Fulani herdsmen on mainly Christian communities in north-east Nigeria, according to World Watch Monitor.
One of them was a pastor, and many of them drowned as they tried to escape by crossing a river.
The attacks took place between September 13 and 16, in the same area where 3,000 homes were set destroyed in December 2017.
A local pastor who wanted to remain anonymous for security reasons told World Watch Monitor that 27 people had been buried following the latest attacks, which targeted communities along the Benue River.
He said that on hearing sounds of guns, many villagers ran for their lives into the bush or drowned attempting to escape via the river. Ten people are still missing.
‘Nobody knows the whereabouts of these people missing. Since their dead bodies are not found, it is too early to declare them dead. We will give them the benefit of doubt; maybe some of them may return home to their families,’ he said.
Rev Gerison Ezekiel Killa, 43, of the Boiki Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, was one of those who drowned. He is survived by his wife and six children.
More than 45 others were injured. The assailants also looted and burned down many homes, and stole cattle.
Rahab Solomon, a survivor from Bolki village, said the attackers stormed their community at about 3 pm and began shooting sporadically.
‘We couldn’t go back home because we were told that our house was burnt. So we came to stay in this camp,’ she said.
‘We were told that the Fulani militants burnt down all our houses, and some women and children who hid in the farms were abducted by the Fulani. We no longer have a place to call home. Right now we are helpless.’
The state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Stephen Mamza, blamed government inaction and said innocent Christians were being butchered by these so-called herdsmen on a daily basis without appropriate response from security forces.