02/24/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – Unarmed Christian farmers in a village in Bassa County of Plateau State, Nigeria, were threatened this week by armed Fulani militants who previously killed 18 Christians in the village in January. ICC responded to the January massacre, providing food assistance and paying medical fees for victims. The Fulani militants attacked the villagers’ farms for a second time on Feb. 19, this time promising to destroy their farms again during the growing season.
Nineteen-year-old Danlami M, who grows tomatoes and peppers, told ICC that the Fulani militants destroyed his farm in February after burning and killing his family members in January. Danlami said that a herder boy was grazing his cattle inside Danlami’s farm and cutting down his tomato and pepper plants. As Danlami began talking to the herder, he noticed six Fulani militants firing their guns in the distance, so he called soldiers stationed nearby for assistance. They refused to engage the militants, however, and instead beat Danlami nearly to the point of death for calling them.
John B, a Christian community leader from the village, narrated the attack to ICC. “On Saturday, February 19, at exactly 2 pm, while I was at a function in Kwall, I received a distress call that one of my members was being seriously tortured by the soldiers residing in our community,” he said. “In an attempt to find out the cause, I immediately put a call to the guard commander so I could be properly briefed on what transpired that led to the torturing of the boy.”
In response to John’s questioning, the guard commander said that Danlami had witnessed cattle destroying his crops Friday, Feb. 18, and had started shouting for the soldiers to come to chase the herder boy away.
Hoping that an in-person conversation would help the situation, John asked the guard commander to wait for him to come back to the village. “I told the commander to wait for me. I will come and listen properly so we can see how this situation will be averted,” John told ICC. “I rode back immediately to meet him as agreed, but when I arrived, he was not at his location. I turned back and started heading to the farm to assess the level of destruction done, but while heading there, I stumbled on him standing with the Fulani boy who illegally grazed.
“At that point, he called me where he was standing beside the arrested cow that perpetrated the act. He ordered me to help some of his men bring the small cow to their location, which I willingly did without hesitation.”
After helping the soldiers, John rejoined the guard commander. “I returned back to where he was, but while we were standing there, we heard a gunshot from an unknown place. Soon the gunshots increased and became randomized, with bullets flipping in our direction.
“Fear gripped all of us at that moment, and we pinned down to avoid being hit by a stray bullet. Before I realized it, I was left alone as all the soldiers fled. They hid nearby and started calling me to come to where they were, but I refused with the intention of ensuring that everything was done.
“One of them warned that he would shoot me if I refused to go and carry my bike. I picked up courage and went with some of the soldiers to where my bike was, and then we picked it up. They have now reported me to their boss that I was behind the attack.”
John B has managed to escape his village and is currently with his wife in hiding from the soldiers. His house and farms were destroyed by Fulani militants, according to ICC contacts on the ground.
Danlami survived the brutal treatment he received from the soldiers. With his crops destroyed anyway, he has also left the village and is currently recovering from the injuries he sustained at the hands of the soldiers.
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