01/24/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – On December 18th, 2021, 45 Christian farmers were murdered by Fulani militants in Nasarawa state.
The massacre was in response to the discovery of Umaru Idirisu, a Fulani herder. Upon finding his dead body, militant herdsmen concluded that someone needed to bear the consequence of his death.
They thus began a rampage in which they attacked six farming communities, set several homes on fire, and killed 45 innocent men, women, and children.
In response, the Nigerian media labeled the atrocity a “farmer-herder clash.”
“Many people have been killed and 27 injured following renewed hostility between farmers and herders in Lafia, Obi, and Awe local government areas of Nasarawa State,” wrote a leading Nigerian news agency.
As is common following a mass murder of Christians in Nigeria, no mention of religious persecution was made.
To uncover the truth of the attack, last week, an ICC representative traveled to Nasarawa. Immediately, he was denied access to the community by the Hagher police unit commander: “I was harassed, embarrassed, and denied visiting Kwayero village,” he stated.
“Muslim police will not allow you to report the truth when they notice you are a Christian,” a Christian leader in one of the affected communities later revealed. “Your life will be at risk.”
Eventually, ICC was able to meet some of the survivors living in refugee settlements outside of their ransacked villages. When asked about the media’s portrayal of the incident, their opinion was clear.
“This has nothing to do with herders farmers clash, but with persecution and marginalization of Christians in the state,” said one community leader.
Another added, “The attack was never a surprise to us. The Fulani (militants) told us they would kill everyone in the village. We informed the security, but they did not care to come.”
“The attackers came at night after the community prayer meeting for Christmas,” said another community leader. “Fulani militants arrived at the village… they kill us because we are Christians, and they want our fertile land.”
The Governor of Nasarawa, Abduhalli Sule, responded to the massacre by suggesting that communities “live in peace with one another,” and promised to provide aid to all those affected.
But according to survivors, no government help was given.
“We are a minority tribe. The government will not help us,” a youth leader told ICC. “As a Christian, no one will help you in this state.”
Since the attack almost one month ago, hundreds of Christian farmers have been forced from their land. The farms they once cultivated are now grazing lands for cattle, their crops long destroyed. Empty homes and churches can be seen scattered throughout the landscape, abandoned by villagers too afraid to come home.
For those who have stayed, every day is a struggle.
“Last year, four women were raped by Fulani militants,” a community leader told ICC. His mother, aged 43, spoke next.
“I was raped four times,” she said
“The Fulani (militants) removed my child from my back and forced me… I am not the only one raped. Others were raped too. They all left the village.”
Her son continued. “Over 800 are displaced, over 100 have been killed in a period of two years, during ambushes when we’re going to farm.
Please pray for us….”
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