Opurum, who commanded one of the military units that responded to the scene, also denied allegations that government soldiers allowed the killing and burning of homes to continue without firing against the attackers. The general said his soldiers killed or wounded some of the attackers but he believes their bodies were removed from the area to frustrate the authorities.
Protest calls out Nigerian president
The latest deadly raid in Kaduna came on the heels of a three-day summit of U.S. and African leaders in Washington, D.C., attended by Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari’s presence at the summit drew a group of a dozen protesters outside the U.S. Institute for Peace on Dec. 16. Inside, Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians, was evicted from the auditorium after waving a banner with the message “Stop Persecuting Christians.”
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“Nigerian President Buhari should never again share the world stage with President Biden and his peers in Africa,” Laugesen said afterward.
“Buhari has allowed and encouraged genocidal violence and religious persecution to rage across Nigeria’s northern and central states in his bid to see his own Fulani tribe to dominate Nigeria’s federal agencies, courts, and security services,” she added.
Laugesen also criticized the U.S. State Department for not including Nigeria on its list of “countries of particular concern” for the second consecutive year, despite the unchecked raids on Christians in Nigeria.
“In failing to designate Nigeria once again as a country of particular concern due to its widespread and systematic religious-based violence — making it the most dangerous country in the world for Christians — the feckless U.S. State Department has given both Buhari and his henchmen a green light to continue its campaign to rid the northern and central states of its Christian communities through exile or extermination or both,” she said.
Back in Kaduna, the people of Mallagum are too traumatized to sing Christmas carols this year, Biniyat told CNA.
“The people are still weeping. The mood is tense,” he said.
(Story continues below)
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“We had hoped this Christmas would be better,” Bishop Kundi told CNA, “but this recent attack has dampened our spirits, and we are just trying to inspire people to hold up to the faith and be hopeful for an end to this calamity.”
Douglas Burton is an independent writer specializing on Nigerian terrorism from his home near Washington, DC. He began covering the campaign to retake Mosul from ISIS in 2015 and switched to covering ISIS in Nigeria in 2019. He is a former State Department official in Kirkuk Iraq.