Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi

Archbishop Benjamin KwashiFulani raiders claim 11 more lives. Release warns of campaign to drive Christians from northern Nigeria, calls for government protection

Cattle rustlers have attacked the home of the Nigerian Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi. The Anglican Archbishop was at home at the time, with some 60 orphans in his care when the raiders struck.

They seized nine cows and shot and killed a neighbour who challenged them by shining a torch in their direction.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi heard the raiders break into his compound and told everyone to stay indoors until they had left. They struck on Saturday June 30.

The Archbishop later visited the family of the dead man, who has been named as Adamu Dung, and prayed for them.

Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi is a partner of Release International, which serves the persecuted church around the world. 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.

‘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.

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

Archbishop Kwashi has called repeatedly for the government to step up security to protect Christians under attack in the north.

The latest attack came days after he was announced as General Secretary of GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) in Jerusalem.

This is the fourth attack on his own home. 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 the recent attacks two weekends ago.

The latest death toll in attacks by Fulani herdsmen has reached 218, according to Release International contacts in Jos. The herdsmen killed 11 more people this weekend in two separate attacks. Six of the dead were killed in Mangu, which is 40 miles from Jos, the capital of Plateau State.

Release International has warned 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.’

Release is celebrating its 50th anniversary of serving the persecuted Church. Through its international network of missions Release International is active in more than 30 countries around the world, supporting pastors, Christian prisoners and their families; supplying Christian literature and Bibles; and working for justice.