Nigeria’s Middle Belt Report: Fulani Militants Continue Attacks into February 2018

By Nathan Johnson

03/07/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Following the brutality of January’s massacres in Benue and Adamawa, February may seem less severe for Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. However, there were still more than 30 attacks on Christian villages across Nigeria led by Fulani militants. This includes several attacks on villages and Christians in states that instituted anti-open grazing bills late last year. These bills are beginning to work in the states in which they have been instituted, but may be leading to more attacks in those that have not yet instituted such bills.

In February, International Christian Concern (ICC) documented at least 32 attacks by Fulani militants on Christians, which killed over 95 people and destroyed dozens of villages. These attacks spanned 11 different states and killed nearly 100 Christians. Last year, during this same period, there were only 10 attacks, which killed roughly 45 Christians. With more than twice as many Christians killed this year, there is a clear uptick in attacks. Between January and February 2018, there have already been more than 270 Christians slaughtered by invading Fulani militants.

Below are two of the worst attacks this past month.

  1. February 1: Fulani militants attacked and killed 15 villagers in three areas of Taraba State (Mutum Biyu, Wuro Jam, and Wukari).
  2. February 7: Fulani militants attacked the communities of Agwatashi, Obi, Agyaragu, and Doma in Nassarawa State, killing 20 people.

This continued violence demonstrates either incompetence or complicity by the Nigerian military in these attacks. Villages that have been attacked are often within sight of military outposts or checkpoints. Despite this, the military has almost never successfully intervened and stopped an attack from causing overwhelming devastation. The Nigerian government must reclaim the land that has been stolen by Fulani militants, rebuild the communities that have been destroyed, and protect its citizens from future attack.