Follow us on
Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » World
Nigeria: Imam saves over 250 Christians from armed cattle herders

Monday July 2, 2018 6:31 PM, News Network

Nigeria Ethnic Violence

Plateau State (Nigeria): Showing an example in this era of violence and hatred, an Imam in Plateau State in Nigeria's central region last Saturday risked his own life to save more than 250 Christians from the armed Muslim cattle herders.

Around 262 men, women and children were fleeing from a neighbouring village - a mainly Christian community when they came under attack from about 300 well-armed men - suspected cattle herders, who were mostly Muslims.

They started shooting sporadically and burning down their homes. Some of those who managed to escape ran towards the mainly Muslim neighbourhood nearby where the imam lived, arriving over the next hour. The cleric immediately came to their aid, hiding in total 262 men, women and children in his home and mosque, BBC reported Sunday.

"I first took the women to my personal house to hide them. Then I took the men to the mosque," the Imam told BBC Pidgin.

This was the latest wave of violence to hit Nigeria's central region where farming communities and nomadic cattle herders often clash - usually over access to land and grazing rights.

The region is prone to religious tension - herders are ethnic Fulani and mostly Muslim, while the farmers are mostly Christian from the Berom ethnic group.

Hundred of people have been killed in 2018, and the tit-for-tat violence has been ongoing for several years. A report from 2016 suggested Nigeria's pastoral conflict was the cause of more deaths that year than Boko Haram.

Had the imam not intervened, the death toll may have been much higher, as the armed men stormed into the mainly Muslim village in pursuit of those who had fled the mainly Christian village nearby, the BBC report said.

One of the villagers described the panicked scenes, saying, "First they attacked a village before us so we ran to the security post. But then they started firing towards the security post so we all ran away - even the security personnel."

When the attackers heard that the villagers had fled towards the mosque, they demanded that the Imam bring out those he was hiding. But the defenceless Imam refused to comply - and also refused to allow them entry to the mosque.

He began to plead with the herdsmen, who were threatening to burn down the mosque and his house. He then prostrated himself on the floor in front of the armed men. Along with some others in the Muslim community, he began to cry and wail, asking them to leave.

And to their amazement the herdsmen did go - but then set two nearby churches on fire, the BBC report said.

The Imam later told the BBC that he wanted to help because more than 40 years ago, the Christians in the area had allowed the Muslims to build the mosque. "They had freely given over the land to the Muslim community", he said.

"Since we have been living together with the Beroms, we have not experienced an ugly incident like the attack on Saturday," another Muslim leader told the BBC.

Those whose lives were saved by the imam expressed their gratitude and relief.

"Ever since they took us into the mosque, not once did they ask us to leave, not even for them to pray," said the local chief. "They provided dinner and lunch for us and we are grateful."

The villagers stayed with the Imam for five days - and have since moved to a camp for displaced people. More than 2,000 people are now living there, and others are living with relatives and friends.

For all the latest News, Opinions and Views, download App

Select Langauge To Read in Urdu, Hindi, Marathi or Arabic

Share this page
More Headlines
43rd Anniversary: Revisiting The Role Of RSS During Emergency
Landmark day for Saudi women as Kingdom officially lifts driving ban Sunday
Quddus Sir spent his whole life craving for more Muslims in civil services, dies at 47
Haj Flight 2018: First batch of pilgrims from Rajasthan, Karnataka embark on August 01
The Man Who Once Sold Tea Later ‘Sold’ Dreams
UPSC Civil Services Main 2018 Time Table released; First paper on September 28
First Haj flight from Hyderabad Embarkation Point on August 01, 2018
Hapur Lynching: Cops seen in picture showing Muslim man being dragged transferred
Bombay HC admits Colonel Purohit's discharge application in Malegaon blast case
Now, have more fun on WhatsApp using this video, audio group calling feature
Instagram video service IGTV with vertical video design goes live from Friday
High altitude affect growth of long bones: Study
Jamia Masjid Shopian: An architectural marvel, now at the mercy of careless management
Kashmir Story and the battle of David vs Goliath
Israelis fume as Prince William’s itinerary lists Jerusalem as occupied territory
First Hajj 2018 flight from Delhi, Lucknow on July 14; from Varanasi on July 20
Government school teachers can now directly apply for National Teachers’ Award
First Hajj flight from Jammu & Kashmir will be on July 14, 2018
Haj 2018: First batch of pilgrims to fly from Mumbai, Nagpur and Aurangabad on July 29
Using Kashmir for electoral purpose will further isolate India at International forums
You should be stepping up, says UNHRC Chief as US steps down
 Post Comments
Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of