The latest in a series of Muslim Fulani attacks on a village in northern Nigeria has killed a Christian's two adult sons, closed churches and sent residents fleeing the area.
"We pray God will convict our attackers and make them to repent from these evil acts against us," Madami Agiya, 60, told Morning Star News. "Pray for us, as we have been forced to abandon our homes. We do not know what to do, as security agencies in Kaduna State are unable to stop the attacks on us."
Agiya, his sons Eli Madami, 30, and 25-year-old Hassan Madami, and other family members were sitting in their home in Kwanti village, 19 miles south of the city of Kaduna, capital of Kaduna state, when the Fulani on Nov. 21 attacked the village near midnight.
"They started shooting, and as we made efforts to run out of the house they shot and killed two of my sons," he said.
Both brothers were members of the Assemblies of God Church, Kwanti.
The armed Muslim Fulanis also kidnapped Agiya's wife, Martha Madami, 50, and niece, 22-year-oldl Chili. They released the women on Dec. 3, after the family paid a ransom of 5 million naira (US$13,770), Agiya said.
"During the attack, the armed Fulani kidnappers took away mobile phones belonging to my two sons they shot dead," he said. "It was these two mobile phones that they used in communicating with us and giving instructions to us as to how and where to drop the ransom for the women."
His sons had paid a ransom when the Agiya himself was abducted in March, he said.
"The Fulani kidnappers came to my house around 2 a.m. in the month of March, on a date I cannot now remember," he said. "They shot into the air and dragged me out of the house. They took me away and held me in a forest for five days before they released me after my children paid a ransom. I don't know how much my children paid to get me released from captivity, but I know that the kidnappers demanded 10 million naira [US$27,530] as ransom."
Four churches have been shut down in Kwanti village in northern Nigeria's Kaduna state following repeated attacks on the Christian community that have claimed four lives of church members and resulted in the kidnapping of 15 Christians released only after ransoms were paid, sources said.
The four closed churches are the Assemblies of God Church, Roman Catholic Church, EKAS Church, and Baptist Church.
The few surviving Christians who spoke to Morning Star News said they too were relocating, unable to bear the attacks any longer.
After Agiya was kidnapped in March, the armed Fulanis returned in May, killing Elisha Samaila, 35, a member of EKAS Church, Kwanti. They also kidnapped Agyiya's daughter, Suzie Madami, 20, and Abigail Isuwa, both members of Assemblies of God Church, Kwanti, as well as Yohanna Sarki, 60, a member of EKAS Church. That attack occurred at about 1 a.m.
The kidnappers returned to Kwanti on July14 at about 10 p.m., this time killing Ayigyehu Adamu, 18, a member of the Baptist Church, Kwanti. They kidnapped Assemblies of God members Garba Ajiya, 70; Paulina Hassan, 28; Gbahi Hassan, 7; Yewayan Isuwa, 29; Kumatu Isuwa, 3; and Maigishi Isuwa, 2, Madami told Morning Star News.
The Muslim Fulani attacks on Kwanti village began in 2016 one morning in November, Agiya said.
"Three members of this community had gone to the farm," he said. "The armed Muslim Fulani captured them and tied them to trees. The three Christians were my son Hassan Madami [killed in the last attack], Sabade Musa, 35, and Peter Mai'angwa, 21, all members of Assemblies of God Church. We had to pay ransom before they were released."
Madami said they are helpless in the face of the onslaughts, and that their pastors have fled the village.
EKAS Church pastor Emmanuel Abu, 30, who fled Kwanti to Kaduna city, told Morning Star News that he and the other three pastors in Kwanti had to leave because all their members had fled.
"We had to leave too because we were not safe," Abu said. "There are pastors that were kidnapped in other places too around here, and so if we had not left the village we would have become victims too."
He said his church had 85 members, and that all are now gone.
"Out of the 85 members of my church, one was killed, and five were kidnapped by the Muslim Fulani kidnappers this year alone," he said.
Another resident of Kwanti village, 25-year-old Ibrahim Yohanna, told Morning Star News that three of his relatives were kidnapped and his family had to pay various sums before they were released.
"Yohanna Sarki was kidnapped, and we had to pay 600,000 naira [US$1,650] as ransom to secure his release from the Fulani kidnappers," Yohanna said. "So also, Emmanuel Yohanna was in March last year kidnapped, and we had to pay a ransom of 150,000 naira [US$413] to get him released. In November 2016, again one of my relatives, Bala Yohanna, was kidnapped, and we had to pay a ransom of 100,000 naira [US$275] to the Fulani kidnappers to get him released."
In August the Muslim Fulanis phoned his brother, Hosea Yohanna, demanding 59,000 naira (US$162) or they would come to his house and kill him, he said.
"I was the person that took the money to the spot where the kidnappers instructed me to drop it for them," Yohanna said. "In fact, they even told me the type and color of dress I should wear to enable them identify me. I did as instructed, and after which we had leave the village. I only rushed down here to take few belongings and then leave."
John Garba, a resident of nearby Kankomi village, told Morning Star News that he knows of five other Christian villages besides Kwanti recently attacked by Fulani kidnappers: Rimi, Bauta, Kunuko, Ronu and Taso.
"In Rimi village, the son of the Baptist pastor there, the Rev. Nathan Maidoya, was shot dead when the Fulani kidnappers could not find the pastor at home," Garba said. "This pastor left the village immediately after his son was killed."
Also in Rimi village, a Christian identified only as Mr. Habila was shot and killed by the kidnappers, he added.
In Taso village, the pastor of an Assemblies of God Church was kidnapped and brutally tortured, Garba said.
"He was disfigured by machete cuts wounds; when the kidnappers released him, he packed out of the village," Garba also told Morning Star News.
Kaduna state officials declined to speak to Morning Star News on the kidnappings and violence in the area.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria's population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Nigeria ranks 12th on Open Doors' 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.