Fourteen Christians have reportedly been slain by Fulani herdsmen likely affiliated with Boko Haram in Plateau State, Nigeria. Numerous reports have documented engagement between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram, a radical Islamic insurgency bent on establishing a separate Islamic state in northern Nigeria.
08/20/2014 Nigeria (Morning Star News) – The 14 people killed in an attack by Muslim Fulani herdsmen last week in Plateau state were Christians killed for their faith, not cattlemen slain for their livestock, area Christians said.
In Yelwa, where Muslim Fulani cattlemen have largely replaced Christian ethnicities over the years by means of slash-and-shoot attacks, a throng of heavily armed herdsmen attacked the remnant Christian community in the early hours of Aug. 11, the sources said.
“These Muslim Fulani gunmen were more than 150, and they were armed,” a 40-year-old Christian from the village who fled to Jos told Morning Star News. “They attacked us in Yelwa. Many of the members of our community were killed by them. And they also burned down our houses. Those of us who survived had to run out of the village, some to Shendam town and others to places like Garkawa, Langtang, Pankshin or Jos.”
Yelwa is part of the Shendam Local Government Area in the southern part of Plateau state. On the same morning in Zarazong, in the Jos East Local Government Area, a group of gunmen killed two other Christians, and between the two villages 15 homes were burned down, sources said.
“The gunmen came into the village and began shooting indiscriminately – I saw two dead bodies as I tried escaping from our village,” said a 23-year-old woman of Zarazong whose name, like that of the previous source, is withheld for security reasons. “I cannot for now say who the victims are, as it was difficult for me to know who they are as I was running away. But, I know they are from our village. We are all Christians in our village and are members of COCIN [Church of Christ in Nations].”
Stories of cattle-rustling as a motive for the attacks seeped into the Nigerian press as a means of dousing potential religious conflict, but any stolen cattle was incidental to the attacks, sources said.
The Rev. Sonja Bewarang, chairman of the Plateau chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, confirmed the killings and house burnings.