By Nathan Johnson
07/11/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Boko Haram and Fulani militants continued their campaign of violence throughout Nigeria’s Middle Belt region in June, during which more than 350 people were killed. June witnessed one of the largest attacks by Fulani militants in nearly a decade. International Christian Concern (ICC) recorded that Fulani militants killed more than 230 people during an attack on Southern Plateau State in late June. Some reports claim that this attack was a brutal act of retaliation after Berom farmers killed five Fulani herdsmen.
To date, ICC has reported on the deaths of more than 1,350 Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt in 2018. This is a conservative number, as there have been other reports as high as 6,000 killed, as reported by the Christian Association of Nigeria. Though these statistics vary greatly, which is reflective of the confusion and chaos surrounding the conflict, they are important because they show the stark contrast and rise in violence compared to previous years. For comparison, approximately 900 people were killed in similar conflicts in 2017.
On June 27, the Global Council of Bishops made the following statement concerning the recent attacks, “We expected the government of Nigeria under the able leadership of President Muhammad Buhari GCFR, as it has promised to defend, secure, and protect the lives of Nigerians as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Chapter II, Section 14b), to take a decisive – workable solution to permanently curtail the excess of the Fulani and their herdsmen from taking laws into their hands, but these killings [keep] aggravating [the situation].”
Below are the largest attacks that took place in June:
- June 6, 2018: Fulani militants in Benue State kill nine people.
- June 17, 2018: Boko Haram militants in Borno State kill 31 people.
- June 25, 2018: Fulani militants in Plateau State kill more than 230 people.
According to Global Terrorism Index, Fulani militants were responsible for more deaths in 2016 than Boko Haram. This trend only continues to worsen as Boko Haram is slowly degraded, and Fulani militants continue to operate freely. Although attention should be given to Boko Haram to prevent further attacks, the Nigerian government and the rest of the world must acknowledge the much deadlier violence taking place in the Middle Belt.
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