ICC Note: Radical Islamist Fulani herders continue to ravage Nigeria with brutal attacks from Zamfara in the north across the “Middle-Belt” to Enugu in the southeast, mostly targeting Christian farming communities. The crisis is complex, having decimated hundreds of villages, murdering tens of thousands of Nigerians over the past 15 years through complex social, religious, economic, and environmental dynamics. However the mainstream media continue to under-emphasize the roll that religious motivations enter into the attackers’ calculus and how Christians suffer persecution as a result of this devastation. While environmental push factors and economic, ethnic, and political motives certainly play a role in Fulani territorial conquest, lost in discussion is the reality that Christian communities are ones primarily targeted and survivors’ descriptions of attacks consistently reveal scenes that suggest jihadist elements to these assaults.
5/5/16 Nigeria (BBC) – After a spate of deadly attacks in Nigeria this year blamed on ethnic Fulani cattle herders, the president has ordered a military crackdown on the group.
But the issue is not new – clashes between different groups of Fulani herders and farmers have killed thousands of people in Nigeria over the past two decades.
In 2014, more than 1,200 people lost their lives, according to the most recentGlobal Terrorism Index. This made the Fulanis the world’s fourth deadliest militant group, the report said.
February’s massacre of some 300 people in central Benue state and last month’s raid in southern Enugu state, where more than 40 were killed, caused outrage across Nigeria. Properties were destroyed and thousands of people forced to flee their homes.
This led to growing anti-Fulani sentiment in some parts of the country with the hashtag #fulaniherdsmen trending on social media.
President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a Fulani, has responded to the public outcry and ordered the security forces to crack down on the cattle raiders.
But the issue is much more complicated than this.