Nigerian terrorists fire from helicopters at villagers, witnesses say

It was a sunny Sunday in Maicoli, a small agricultural town south of Kaduna, Nigeria. Pastor Dennis Sani, a pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All and a leader of 50 private surveillance units, was preaching.

A few minutes before noon on June 5, Sani received the news he was afraid of. A group of 200 armed terrorists flocked to a nearby Dogon town. In other words, Maicoli was next.

After dismissing a congregation of 400 worshipers, he mobilized his team at the northern entrance of a dense forest town where terrorists were expected to attack the bike.

At 12:30 pm, after leveling the Dogon Noma and two other settlements, a convoy of more than 70 motorcycles (with three perpetrators on their bicycles) arrived at Maikori.

Epoch Times Photo
Rev. Dennis Sani is the pastor of the evangelical church Winning All and the leader of a 50-member private surveillance unit. (Provided by Masala Kim)

Sani’s team was 4 to 1 and many. It was the first time to fight such a unit armed with sophisticated weapons.

“We heard the sounds of various guns,” he said. [an] AK 47. “

The team hid behind tall trees and grass near the approach to the village and fought with their hunting rifles and homemade short guns. Their goal was to delay intruders sufficiently to allow women, children, and the elderly to evacuate.

Subsequent shootouts prevented terrorists who did not anticipate resistance from advancing for a few minutes. However, around 1 pm, a silver helicopter appeared overhead and began shooting at the defenders.

Terrorists hiding in the fire from helicopters and moving forward, shooting fugitive residents, including women and children. They plundered the house and burned it.

An 18-year-old resident, Shadrak Joshua, who was running with a two-year-old child on his back, was hit in the foot by a helicopter shooting.

At the end of the four-hour raid, two members of Sani’s surveillance team were among the 33 dead in the attack.

Epoch Times Photo
Formerly a refugee farmer, Chef Muaz is now part of a group trying to protect villagers from terrorists and bandits. (Provided by Masala Kim)

The Nigerian media was barely aware of the attack, but it happened at the same time as the mass slaughter at the Roman Catholic Church in Ondo, 349 miles away. The killing of 40 congregations by three terrorists has attracted worldwide attention.

Both cases represent the persecution of Christians in Nigeria, which many observers call the “Christian massacre.”

They continued closely Three worshipers were killed and many others were kidnapped during church worship in Kajur June 19th.

US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has urged US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to engage the Nigerian government on the issue of Christian persecution.

“Previously, Ondo hadn’t seen any major combat activity. The attack shows a move south of terrorism not only to Nigeria’s oil-producing areas, but also to Christian-dominated areas,” Smith said. Says.

“This is a big concern, especially given the importance of Nigeria throughout West Africa,” Smith said in a letter to Nuland.

according to Statement on Smith’s websiteThis letter responds to the State Department’s decision to exclude Nigeria as a particular country of concern in its annual Freedom of Religion Report, published in early June.

It was despite the widespread religious persecution that plagued the country.

According to Open Doors International, a watcher of religious freedom, the statement lamented the killing of more than 4,650 believers in Nigeria in 2021, accounting for nearly 80% of Christian deaths worldwide. increase.

Kaduna police spokesman Mohammed Jarige and state internal security commissioner Samuel Alwan did not answer some phone calls and text messages sent by the Epoch Times.

However, Alwan issued a statement on the Facebook page of Governor Nacil El Ruffy of Kaduna claiming that the Air Force team covering the ground forces fought thief terrorists in Maicoli to rescue the inhabitants.

“Air Force helicopter [under Operation Whirl Punch] Those dispatched to the area intercepted the bandits at the last place [Ungwan Maikori] Before the ground troops arrived, they engaged with them as they withdrew, “Alwan wrote.

However, Sani told the Epoch Times that no military personnel were seen in the town during the four-hour attack.

“To date, no soldiers or government officials have visited the village,” he said, saying that only civilians were attacked by helicopters.

“The helicopter came and started shooting us around 1 pm, with gunshots that terrorists had accessed and started burning our homes, chasing women and even children running through the bushes. “Sani said.

From a safe distance, Chef Muaz (formerly an exiled farmer from a village near Karamay and now lives in a lawn tent two miles south of Anwan Maikori) is the house they are burning. I could see a helicopter shooting civilians as I fled from.

“While the bandits burned their homes and shot people, it went back and forth between villages,” Muaz told the Epoch Times.

However, a few days after the attack, the military has not yet reported the arrest. Sani also confirmed that the terrorists were not killed by the shooting from the helicopter.

“Even traces of their blood were not found on the ground,” he said.

The attack has aroused calls for an investigation into the possibility of military collusion with terrorists in the state.

“If the helicopters were from the government, why did they shoot the villagers instead of the attackers?” Nigerian House of Representatives member Yakubu Umar Barde told The Epoch Times on the phone.

“If they just mistaken the victim for an attacker, why did they bomb the church?” Asked Barde, the representative of Kajur.

“There are reports from villagers that they saw a helicopter landing in the village, supplying something they didn’t understand and returning at midnight,” said Barde.

According to Aeroaffaires, an international airline that operates helicopter charter services in Lagos, Nigeria, helicopter hiring costs range from $ 1,255.13 to $ 4,183.78 per hour, depending on the type and size.

But terrorists can afford them because of their broad financial network, Barde says.

“These bandits have their masters in the city. Money. [they get from kidnapping] Return to the city. If the government is serious, this can be investigated. However, they are being treated with children’s gloves. “

Kim Masala