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02/17/2022 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – On Friday, Nov. 26, rumors swirled of an impending Fulani militia attack on the Nigerian Middle Belt village of Te’egbe.

Six soldiers guarded the complex, and Yari, one of the villagers, joined them on patrol.

The Fulani herdsmen had already ravaged the region, home to the mostly Christian Irigwe people, killing hundreds and displacing thousands. Te’egbe had become a city of refuge for uprooted Irigwe from as far south as the Kaduna villages that border Plateau State.

The Ambush

The first gunfire pierced the night’s calm around 1:00 a.m., according to Yari and the soldiers. One witness said the attackers positioned three machine guns and started firing indiscriminately toward the village.

Panic ensued.

While some women and children were sent elsewhere earlier, those who remained fled into the darkness.

“We responded with gunfire, but the attackers were overwhelming,” said Yari. “As they attempted to surround us, we had to flee…to avoid getting trapped.”

The Devastation

Radical Fulani militants descended on Te’egbe in an assault that lasted about three hours. Witnesses said the attackers wore black and shouted, ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the greatest). The militants killed ten villagers and set more than 100 homes on fire, displacing roughly 700 people.

“My father was killed in the attack,” said Jonathan. “We were asleep around 1:00 a.m. when we heard gunshots. Our old father was sick and indoors. My mother, my stepmother, and my mother’s relative had come to care for my father, along with two grandchildren. Six of them were in the same room and were all shot to death.”

A Genocide of Christians

An ICC staffer who navigated the area and interviewed survivors said the attacks “are an attempt to eat more into the major Irigwe communities, to weaken their self-defense and push them out of the land so that the herdsmen, who are nomadic, will have more space for the cattle to graze. The attacks are aimed at weakening the resilience of the community and impoverishing them.”

He and others characterize the attacks against the Christian farmers as ethnic cleansing and genocide.

“If they can destroy your food source, then starvation sets in,” said the ICC staffer. “If they destroy your home, they displace the individuals. They incapacitate you economically, and life becomes unbearable. So, the communities have no choice but to succumb to the wishes of the herdsmen.”

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