World

Baroness Cox escapes ambush in Nigeria

Islamists could have killed member of House of Lords on humanitarian trip

Several members of a humanitarian delegation, including a member of the British House of Lords, narrowly avoided a potentially fatal ambush by Islamist militants in Nigeria last week.

Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust reported that its founder, Baroness Caroline Cox, along with the organization’s CEO, Corinna Loges, and an Anglican bishop from the U.S., Stuart Ruch III, avoided the ambush at the hands of Fulani militants in the village of Jong Nov. 14. The delegation was on an annual visit with a larger delegation to northern Nigeria.

“Shortly after leaving the village near Jos in Plateau State, the delegation was contacted and informed that armed men had come into the valley (the village’s sole exit point) and shot at people driving through,” HART reported. “The events occurred a mere 30 minutes after the delegation had departed. It is believed by local Christian minister Rev. Gyang Boyi that the delegation was the original intended target of the attack.”

Gyang Boyi stated to the delegation: ‘The Fulani Herdsmen killed the traditional ruler Sad Ron Kulere, Lazarus Agai in July, in a similar ambush. We thank God you escaped this.’ The delegation was composed of eight individuals. It is believed that the civilians who were subsequently caught in the crossfire were returning from a wedding.

The delegation had traveled to Jong to meet the remaining villagers in Lo-Birin and listen to their testimonies, HART said. Jong is just one of the villages that have been subject to devastating attacks at the hands of the increasingly lethal Fulani militants. Whilst Boko Haram’s impact is widely reported in the international press, the lethal attacks of Fulani militants are a growing issue that often goes unreported. Fulani militants have forced numerous vulnerable rural communities to abandon their homes, leaving children orphaned, villages destroyed and churches burned. The delegation spoke to numerous individuals who had been affected by the horrors of the Fulani militants.

According to the Daily Mail, Cox, 79, said she has no doubt the Fulani would have “delighted” in killing her.

HART works with partners in eight countries in the fields of education, environment, health, human rights, women’s empowerment and more.

Shawn Neal

John Burger

John Burger is a news editor at Aleteia. He formerly worked at the National Catholic Register and Catholic New York in the Archdiocese of New York. He has also written for a wide variety of Catholic publications.