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World Anglican leader's home attacked by cattle raiders

The Nigerian Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, may well be the most powerful Anglican leader in the world, since he was just announced at GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) in Jerusalem last week as its new General Secretary.

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Yet on his return home from Jerusalem, he faced another attack from Muslim terrorists. Cattle raiders attacked his compound, stole all his cows and murdered a neighbour who flashed a torch at them.

Archbishop Kwashi was at home at the time, with 60 orphans in his care. When he heard the raiders break into his compound he told everyone to stay indoors until they had left.

“We are not safe in [our] homes. I am raising an alarm – if the government will listen. Lord in your mercy…”

He wrote on his Facebook page: “Adamu Dung was shot through the head because he flashed his light when he heard footsteps of cattle being rustled. The cows were mine. Adamu was killed. He is no threat. He is an ordinary citizen struggling with life and doing every honest job to make ends meet.”

The Archbishop later visited the family of the dead man and prayed for them.

“When I saw the widow and the house I could not help myself, my tears flowed freely and my heart shattered! I still carry the image of the house, the widow and the children. Adamu died, killed by rustlers in front of his house. Many blood blood blood blood …..

“We are not safe in [our] homes. I am raising an alarm – if the government will listen. Lord in your mercy…”

With this fourth attack on his home, the terrorists seemed to be sending the Archbishop a warning. His church and vicarage have been burnt down, and, on one occasion, when would-be assassins discovered he wasn’t there, they took their revenge on his wife Gloria, leaving her partially blinded.

Each time the attackers come, Archbishop Kwashi says it just makes him more resolved to preach the gospel and proclaim the Christian message. Since the attacks began, the Archbishop and his wife have fostered hundreds of orphans. Their latest was a baby whose parents were killed in attacks two weekends ago.

“I am not afraid to die,” he told Gerald McDermott, a professor from Beeson Divinity School in the US, after the latest attack.

“I continue to live my normal life, as you have seen, but I do nurse the fear that I might get killed. My sure faith, however, is that until my time is over and assignment completed nothing shall yet happen to me. So I live between these tensions.”

Release International estimates the death toll in attacks by Fulani herdsmen has reached 218, with 11 more people killed last weekend in two separate attacks.

Leader of the Nigerian Anglicans, Nicholas Okoh, has appealed for an end to the violence and terrorism waged by Fulani tribesmen across the country. In a sermon delivered in Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, in the southwest of the country near the Benin border, Nicholas Okoh said the nomadic pastoralists must be disarmed to end the violence between farmers and ranchers.

“These people ought to be disarmed because a situation where a section of the country will be armed and the rest don’t having anything, we cannot move forward,” he told the congregation.

Amnesty International reports that more than 200 villagers have been killed by the Muslim pastoralists over the past four weeks. It says 549 farmers across 14 states were murdered last year and several thousand driven from their homes.

Release International warns that the ongoing attacks, by heavily armed herdsmen and Boko Haram militants, point to a campaign to drive Christians out of the north of Nigeria.

Release CEO Paul Robinson says: ‘These murderous raids beg important questions. Why is the military apparently powerless to stop the slaughter of unarmed farmers? Who is arming and training these Fulani militants? And whose agenda does this killing of mainly Christian communities serve?

“It all points to a strategy to drive out Christians from the north of Nigeria. The government of Nigeria must protect its vulnerable Christian communities in the north – and its Anglican Archbishop,” he said.

With agencies

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