04/10/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Fulani militants continued to carry out violent attacks throughout Nigeria’s Middle Belt region in March. The brutal attacks perpetrated by these hardline Islamic militants persistently spark fear among Christians living in the Middle Belt, as death tolls continue to rise. This undeclared war has turned Muslims and Christians against each other in a confrontation that threatens the stability of Nigeria, with Christians suffering in far greater numbers. Last month, at least 150 people were killed. Additionally, Boko Haram conducted at least one major attack in Adamawa State that claimed many lives and homes.
Attacks at the hands of these violent militants have spiked dramatically following the 2019 elections, and partially due to economic scarcity, as Nigeria’s land resources are depleting. Fulani militants attack defenseless farmers, impoverishing Christian communities, as the bloodshed is inextricably wrapped up in religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic prejudices.
Nigerian bishop William Amove Avenya of Benue State said, “Fulani tribesmen armed to the teeth, are murdering pregnant women and children, and destroying our smallholdings.”
“This is a time bomb that threatens to ignite the whole region. We cannot wait for a mass genocide to happen before intervening,” he added.
Meanwhile, recently reelected President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military leader, has failed to stop the violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. These states have been devastated by the long-simmering conflict between farmers and herdsmen. His broken election promises have left Nigeria’s Christians living in a constant state of fear, as the Nigerian government does not hold the Fulani militants accountable or plan to disarm them. As the violent militants continue to unleash bloodshed, the humanitarian crisis deepens across the region.
Below are the largest attacks that took place in March:
- March 4, 2019: Fulani militants attack Benue State, killing 23
- March 11, 2019: Fulani militias attack Kajuru, burning more than 100 homes, killing 52
- March 18, 2019: Boko Haram sieged a Christian majority town in Adamawa State, inhabited by more than 370,000 people
According to Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List, Nigeria ranks as the 12th worst country in the world for Christian persecution. As Boko Haram and Fulani militants’ brutal campaigns of violence have claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more in recent years, we will continue to call on the Nigerian government to rebuild destroyed communities and protect Nigerians from further tragedies.
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