In the early hours of Sunday, a town in Taraba State, Nigeria, fell victim to a horrific extremist attack, leading to the murder of a Christian couple and the abduction of six individuals. Residents identified the slain couple as Balanko Alex and his wife.
The assault took place in the Mile Six area of Jalingo, with Emmanuel Moses, a local resident, confirming the incident to Morning Star News. Moses reported that the attackers also wounded several others during the onslaught.
The tragic incident follows another abduction event that occurred on Friday, where two more Christians were kidnapped on Takum Road, between Manya and Gangum. John Hussaini, another local, corroborated these details.
Abdullahi Usman, the Taraba State Police Command spokesman, validated these incidents in a press release. According to Usman, the attackers breached the victims’ residence by scaling the fence, executed the couple, and kidnapped several others. He assured that the police are working diligently to apprehend the culprits.
Prior to this, on June 25, Fulani herdsmen and other extremists had killed 20 Christians in Takum, a town in Taraba State. Nigeria continues to top the list of countries with the highest number of Christians killed for their faith, with 5,014 deaths in 2022, as per the 2023 World Watch List report by Open Doors.
Nigeria also leads in Christian abductions and has seen a significant rise of faith-based attacks on homes and businesses. Despite these alarming figures, the Nigerian government rejects the notion of religious persecution, enabling the violators to act without fear of reprisal.
The 2023 World Watch List further states that Nigeria now ranks sixth, its highest ever, among the countries where Christians face the most hardships. Militant groups, including the Fulani, Boko Haram, and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), continue to instigate violence against Christian communities.
While most Fulani, a predominantly Muslim group spread across Nigeria and the Sahel, do not hold extremist views, a small faction adheres to radical Islamist ideology. This faction has shown an intent to target Christians and symbols of Christian identity, as per a 2020 report by the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG).