142 Christians have been killed and an estimated 70 others abducted in Nigeria’s central Plateau state.
On the 10th April, armed groups of radicalised Muslim Fulani herdsmen simultaneously attacked an estimated ten villages in the West African state, leading to the killings. A further 3,000 people have been displaced from their homes.
The Fulani, who are majority Muslim, are the world’s largest nomadic ethnic group. Although most Fulani live in peace with their neighbours, Militant Fulani, having been radicalised by extreme Islam, have emerged from their people group with Jihadist intent.
Fulani herdsmen mainly populate the Middle Belt of Nigeria, as opposed to the north which is dominated by Boko Haram. Fulani herdsman terrorist attacks claimed the lives of at least 847 people last year across five Nigerian states, according to the latest report from the Global Terrorism Index. They have also been known to carry out attacks in the Central African Republic.
Most of those who were abducted were women and girls, according to reports. Recounting the harrowing attacks, survivors said that the radicalised Muslim militants arrived in large numbers on motorcycles just as people were preparing their farmlands for the rainy season.
In addition to killing and abducting droves of residents, they burned down at least 100 homes, destroyed farmlands, looted barns, and stole livestock. The extremists who carried out the brutal attacks were described as riding three to a motorbike, consistent with descriptions of past Fulani attacks.
Survivors of Fulani attacks in 2017 and 2019 described the militants riding on motorcycles, three people on a bike, one of whom would drive as the other two would shoot towards the left and the right, respectively.
The targeted communities were settled by Christians and Muslims, with most of the victims reportedly Christian farmers in those communities.
Last year, Nigeria received an award from a persecution watchdog group—”Persecutor of the Year” awards, that is. In November, International Christian Concern (ICC) chose “dis-honourees” in the categories of individual, entity, and country in its report on the state of Christian persecution throughout the world. Nigeria was named the country with the worst level of persecution against Christians in the world.
ICC President Jeff King has described the slayings of Christians in Nigeria by radicalised and armed Islamist Fulani as a “20-year-genocide”.
“Christian communities in the Middle Belt of Nigeria have effectively suffered a twenty-yearlong genocide,” ICC President Jeff King said last year.
“Where is any action? The Nigerian government gives these attacks lip service without any meaningful response.
“Where is the outcry? Where is effective action? In Nigeria, the military, the police, and the intelligence agencies are all controlled by Muslims. This, coupled with a twenty-year lack of response by these agencies, should naturally lead to deeper questioning by the world community.
“Simply put, the time for cheap talk and platitudes is over. The world is waking up and asking, “Is the Nigerian government complicit in these attacks.” Time will tell, but for this long-time watcher, the decision is in,” he said.
Attacks on Nigerian Christians continue, with additional murders reported this month so far. The Fulani herdsmen opened fire on a group of Christians in Nigeria’s Borno state, leaving eight dead and more wounded earlier this month, according to a separate report.
In another attack which reportedly took place at the end of April in central Nigeria, Fulani militants killed 21 Christians, including children under five. Christian Solidarity International reported that a local source said the attackers shot 21 people, including elderly people, and burned dozens of houses as the over 2000 residents of the towns fled.
— Robert Spencer روبرت سبنسر रॉबर्ट स्पेंसर 🇺🇸 (@jihadwatchRS) May 7, 2022
“For five hours, the onslaught continued unhindered under the watch of a Muslim-led military task force,” according to the local source.
“Our houses, food barns, and everything we owned was destroyed,” said the distressed resident, who noted the attackers spoke Fulani dialect.
The attack was intended by the terrorists to capture territories for the forceful expansion of Islam, according to a tribal spokesman.