Nigeria’s Middle Belt Report: Attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani Militants Increase Sharply in 2018
02/06/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Bloodshed in 2018 spiked dramatically in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, with the heaviest attacks taking place in Plateau State. ACLED reported that approximately 1,930 brutal deaths were attributed to Fulani militants in 2018 alone, nearly six times the death toll caused by the notorious terrorist group Boko Haram. This was a sharp increase over the 1,900 total people killed in 2017 by both Boko Haram, which was the main perpetrator, and Fulani militants.
Due to ethnic tensions, religious differences, and a lack of economic resources, Fulani attacks against defenseless farmers in largely Christian areas claimed many lives and displaced tens of thousands. The Global Terrorism Index reported, “At its core, the herder-farmer violence occurring in Nigeria revolves around the economic plight resulting from the worsening drought and land degradation in Nigeria’s northern regions. The livelihood of Nigeria’s Fulani population is threatened as desertification of their land pushes them south.” This, however, does not account for the dozens of villages that were completely razed and the more than 30 churches that were destroyed in Plateau State alone, as reported by Rev. Dacholom Datiri, president of the Church of Christ in Nigeria.
Despite these violent attacks, there have been no major attempts by the Nigerian government to hold the Fulani accountable or disarm them. Both of these steps must happen if this violence is to be stopped. The Middle Belt conflict should be a cause of great concern for President Buhari and all interested in Nigeria’s growth and stability.
Below are the largest attacks that took place in 2018.
- April 23, 2018: Fulani militants attack in Benue State, killing 19 worshippers.
- June 23, 2018: Fulani militants attack in Plateau State, killing approximately 238.
- July 10, 2018: Fulani militants attack in Adamawa and Taraba States, killing 50.
According to Global Terrorism Index’s 2018 ranking, Nigeria remains the third ‘Most Terrorized Country’ for the fourth consecutive year, making the Fulani militants and Boko Haram top-tier threats to Nigeria and its Christian population. Boko Haram and Fulani militants have claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more in recent years. The Nigerian government and the rest of the world must remember and pray for those affected by the deadly violence taking place in the Middle Belt.
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