On Saturday, armed men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen ambushed and killed Silas Ali, a pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), in Kibori village, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna state.
According to residents, Silas was killed around Zango Urban, a Hausa-Fulani settlement in Zango Kataf, on his way from Kafanchan, where he had gone to visit his son in school.
On Sunday, Silas was absent at the weekly church service. After service, his worried members trooped out in search of him. They would eventually find his butchered body in the bush after many hours of searching around the village.
“Our reverend was cut into pieces and dumped in a nearby bush by the Fulani herdsmen,” said a resident who simply identified as Jonathan. “He was on his way home from Kafanchan where he went to visit his son when they killed him.”
However, the killer herdsmen, according to eyewitnesses, hid in strategic places in Kibori village, waiting for the church members to return so they would attack them.
“When we returned in the evening, the Fulani herdsmen just appeared from nowhere and started shooting sporadically,” a resident told FIJ. “It was just a five minutes attack but 11 persons were killed.”
“They knew we were away, so they took advantage of that to hide around,” another resident said. “When we came, they just started firing and before we knew it, they’d killed people again.”
Zangon Kataf, a predominantly Christian community in Southern Kaduna, has come under repeated attacks from bandits and Fulani militia groups in the past years, according to residents.
Confirming the tragic incident, Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, said security operatives were on top of the matter.
“The Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai expressed deep sadness at the report of the killing, which he described as horrifying and cruel. The Governor offered prayers for the repose of the soul of the cleric,” Aruwan said.
“Going further, Governor El-Rufai sent his condolences to the family of Reverend Silas Yakubu Ali, and to the ECWA Church in Kibori-Asha Awuce, as he prayed to God to grant them fortitude and comfort over this sudden and painful loss.
He also said the Governor has urged security agencies to intensify efforts towards apprehending the perpetrators of the heinous killings while appealing to members of the community to maintain calm.
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