Little Left for Nigerian Man who Watched Militants Kill Three Family Members

Clement Usoo. Credit: ACN

Clement Usoo admits that he has lost all hope in life, and is only waiting for his death after watching armed Fulani herdsmen brutally murder his mother, brother, and son, and losing seven other family members to the militants.

Usoo told the Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, that all that is left for him is to lead a quiet life, expecting nothing, until he finally dies and joins his dead kin.

Asked about his prospects for the future in the Wednesday, February 15 report, the 65-year-old told ACN, “I am very old now, and my strength is gone. I can do little until I finally join my ancestors. I just wish to spend the remaining days of my life in happiness, with food on my table, in good health, and thus, finally, to prepare to rest in Christ.”

Usoo recalls the 1 June 2019 incident in which he was shot, and had to spend six months in hospital. Additionally, the Fulani herdsmen took his land in Tse-Umande village in Nigeria’s Benue State, forcing him to move to an IDP camp with his family.

At the camp, three of his ten children died, and six others were assigned housework in various cities, the frail man shared with ACN.


He recalls having been on the way to his farm on the fateful day when he and his brother who was at a nearby farm heard gunfire in the village.

“My brother and I stopped what we were doing and ran to our house. As we approached our house, the sound of gunfire got closer, and we could hear people screaming and crying,” Usoo says in the February 15 ACN report.

“People came running from every corner of the village,” he narrates, and continues, “My goal was to save my mom and my oldest son, who was at home then. Stepping into the house, I saw everything scattered about. I started calling out to my mother and son. My brother ran inside the hut while I went outside to see if I could find them. Then I heard my brother scream. I rushed inside and saw my son’s head in one corner of the room and the rest of his body in the center.”

In desperation, Usoo tried to bring his son back to life. He recalls, “I quickly took his head and placed it on his body. I cried and shook the body, to see if God would have mercy and bring him back to life. But that never happened.”

As if he had not seen enough horror for the day, the Fulani came back and subjected his mother to untold torture, turning the gun to his brother, torturing him (Usoo), and leaving him for dead.

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When they left, there were two more lifeless bodies in the house; his mother’s and his brother’s.

“Just when I was about to run out of the room, four Fulani herdsmen ambushed us. They grabbed me, and one of them shot me in the chest, while another slashed my hand with a machete. I was also stabbed in the back. They grabbed hold of my brother and mother, tormenting her, telling her to watch them slaughter her son. One of them had an AK47 and shot my brother, who died instantly. My mother could not hold back her pain and collapsed,” the elderly man narrates.

He continues, “On seeing that, I fell unconscious, and the attackers thought I was dead and left.”

Usoo says he was saved by villagers who came later to collect dead bodies and found him still breathing. He was rushed to the hospital where he took six months to heal.

On being discharged he found out that his four other relatives had been killed by Fulani herdsmen.


All the villagers had also moved to various camps in the Nigerian state for safety.

Usoo joined his wife and their remaining children at Guma Camp, and in 2021, he lost his wife. His wife was overwhelmed by the trauma he had experienced back in the village, and could not hold it amid hardships in the camp.

“Today, my village of Tse-Umande is still occupied by Fulani herdsmen,” Usoo narrates, adding that the 1 June 2019 attack was not the only one that the village had witnessed.

He says that Fulani attacks on farmers in Nigeria “are too numerous to be counted.”

The elderly man decries the Nigerian government's laxity in addressing the suffering of Christians in the country, saying, “The most upsetting part of this is that the government is not doing anything to stop the attacks. It almost seems as if there is a plan to kill all the Christians here.”

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Usoo admits that for a long time, he lost his faith in God and “lived like a pagan” when he lost everything to the Islamist militants.

Asked whether his faith had been a source of strength for him, he says, “Truthfully, no.”

He adds, referring to the 1 June 2019 attack, “After that day, I stopped participating in Church activities. I also stopped going to Mass for some time. I stopped praying and believing in God. I lived like a pagan for so long, but I am glad that I am now able to let go of my past and come back to God.”

ACN supports the work of the Diocese of Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria, as it comes to the aid of IDPs who are said to be concentrated in the Nigerian State.

The charity foundation, which supports the people of God in areas experiencing religious extremism reports that besides providing pastoral care, the local Church in Nigeria provides trauma counseling, and scholarships so that children displaced by violence can continue their education.

The Church also provides food and other forms of humanitarian aid to victims of armed Fulani attacks.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.