Out of these ashes 1050x690 1
Mangu attacks May 2023 Stefanos Foundation 1
Stefanos Foundation / Release International

Fulani militants have been attacking Christian villages in Mangu, central Nigeria. The latest wave of attacks on some 30 villages began on May 16 and killed at least 125. Similar attacks over the same period claimed another 43 lives. Partners of UK-based Release International have been providing emergency relief aid.

Children were killed and injured during the attack on Mangu. Among them 8-month-old baby, Precious Mani. Precious was shot twice but survived. Her parents and five siblings were among the dead in the attack on Nbun Ward in May.

One survivor from the village of Jwakom, told Release International’s partners: ‘We saw people running and started to hear consistent gunshots. Our men told us to go. We all fled. We barely survived.’

Names have been omitted for these witnesses’ protection.


Mangu attacks May 2023 Stefanos Foundation 4
Stefanos Foundation / Release International

The only doctor in one village said the first victims were brought to his small hospital on May 23. He said: ‘We lost two from extensive gunshot injuries. One had a wound which went in one side of his chest and came out the other. He died. Another with bullet wounds to the neck also died.’

The doctor described the hospital as inundated. ‘Simple things like gloves, sutures, antibiotics, items for those with machete wounds – we have exhausted them all.’

Release International partners Stefanos Foundation have given medical supplies to the hospital.

A mother whose oldest child was killed in the attack said: ‘We started hearing gunshots in the night at around midnight. My grandmother and the girl who stays with me were killed, along with my first born. My 5-year-old has been seriously wounded, too. He’s in great pain.’

Attackers were neighbours

Mangu attacks May 2023 Stefanos Foundation 5
Stefanos Foundation / Release International

She identified the attackers as militant Fulani herders. ‘They are our neighbours,’ she said. ‘Our house is just besides theirs. They called my son by name.’

Another woman also identified the attackers as Fulani militants. She prays for God to change their hearts: ‘God, please meet them wherever they are, this is my prayer. Because if they don’t have changed hearts, they will continue in wickedness. I’ve never known people to be wicked like this. It shocked me.’

UK-based Release International has launched a major campaign to help victims of the violence in Nigeria, called Out of these ashes. Speakers from Nigeria and elsewhere will be live streamed from Eastbourne on June 29, which is designated internationally as Day of the Christian Martyr.

Nigeria campaign

Out of these ashes

Addressing the event about the situation in Nigeria will be the Venerable Mark Mukan, Director of Mission Operations at the Anglican Diocese of Jos. Rev Mukan trains Christian pastors and church leaders to serve the people of Nigeria even under attack.

The latest attacks in Mangu are part of an escalation in violence which has been continuing for 20 years, says Release International partner, Archbishop Ben Kwashi.

He says: ‘We have come to another season of constant attacks on Christian villages and Christian people in central Nigeria. In April, in Benue, attacks left over 134 people dead, in systematic, calculated, well-planned killings, targeted at people who are either asleep or in their farms.

‘The consistency with which these attacks have gone for nearly 20 years is a sad commentary on the leadership of Nigeria, who do not care about the poor and vulnerable, especially farmers in the villages.

‘We as Christians in the Middle Belt in northern Nigeria are asking for concerted prayer because the devastation is beyond human ability to bear. Please also pray that the church will preach the gospel of salvation.’

Ben Kwashi
‘Another season of attacks on Christian villages.’ Archbishop Ben Kwashi

1000+ killed in 2023

According to Nigerian NGO Intersociety, 1080 Christians have been killed in attacks in the first quarter of 2023 alone. In the previous year, 5100 were killed in attacks by Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa, and Fulani militants.

Nigerian journalist Masara Kim told The Epoch Times that journalists and military came under heavy gunfire from some 500 Fulani in Kyampus.

By the time the reporters arrived with 100 soldiers and policemen, the attackers had set fire to up to 300 houses in the town. Ten local youths had tried unsuccessfully to defend the area with hunting rifles and homemade guns.

While the journalists were filming, Kim says: ‘The terrorists, who had retreated to the western edge of town and hidden behind trees, unleashed automatic gunfire and advanced to retake control of the town. The black-clad terrorists were shouting “Allahu Akbar” [Allah is greater].’

The military were forced to retreat after running low on ammunition. 125 people died in that attack alone.

MSN Fulani 2.6.23

Over the same period, Morning Star News report Fulani militants killed a church pastor, his wife and 41 others in attacks on villages in Nasarawa state. They burned the church and destroyed houses. Most of the victims, according to accounts, were women, children and the elderly who were unable to flee.


According to Intersociety, up to 80 per cent of the recent attacks took place a week before the presidential elections or shortly afterwards. Those elections produced a Muslim president and vice president for the first time in Nigeria’s history.

Paul Robinson e1592816375901

Paul Robinson is the CEO of Release International, a ministry to persecuted Christians around the world. Release International has identified Nigeria as a country of key concern, as the rise in violent attacks by Fulani militants continues.

Says Paul Robinson: ‘This violence is often simplistically characterised in the media as clashes between herders and farmers. This ignores the religious dimension behind many of the Fulani attacks, which together have the characteristic of an Islamist jihad.

Religious cleansing

‘Predominantly Christian villages have been overrun, church buildings destroyed, and pastors targeted for assassination. Villages are being burnt out of their homes in what appears to be a systematic campaign of religious and ethnic cleansing.’

Release International partners Stefanos Foundation have been conducting trauma healing workshops and providing basic food supplies and toiletries to internally displaced people. According to the UN, more than 3 million Nigerians have been driven from their homes by the violence, into camps for the displaced.

To find out more about Release International’s Out of these ashes campaign and the live stream on June 29, click the link.

UK-based Release International is active in some 30 countries. It works through partners to prayerfully, pastorally, and practically support the families of Christian martyrs. It helps prisoners of faith and their families, as well as Christians suffering oppression and violence, and those forced to flee.

Watch the video with Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi below: