100 Christians Killed in Clashes With Militant Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria
Islamic Fulani herdsmen in northeastern Nigeria, who have been accused of aligning with the Boko Haram terror group, killed more than 100 Christians after reprisal clashes earlier this month with the suspected help of the military, according to a report.
The killings took place in last week northeastern Adamawa state, where tensions began after some herdsmen raped and murdered a pregnant woman belonging to the predominantly Christian Numan community on her farm, and also killed her husband and brother when they intervened, according to World, which says that several community members staged a counterattack on the herdsmen but were ambushed.
The attack razed several villages in the southern part of the state, and a military jet bombed a Lutheran church and other targets, according to witnesses. The government claims it deployed military aircraft in response to the attack.
Stephen Mamza, chairman of the local Christian Association of Nigeria, was quoted as saying that the death toll is at least 100, and that others are still missing and might also be dead.
The 2017 Global Terrorism Index described the herdsmen, who attack Christians regularly in southern Adamawa, as terrorists in 2014.
In February 2016, the Fulani killed 300 Christians in Benue. In March this year, they killed 200 Christians in Nasarawa.
The Global Terrorism Index says the Fulani are responsible for as many as 60,000 deaths since 2001.
In October, the herdsmen slaughtered 48 Christians in several attacks carried out over a period of nine days in Plateau state.
The Rev. Andrew Okebe, the Zonal Coordinator of Christian Association of Nigeria, Miango District, explained what happened during the attack:
"The soldiers had told the women and children to go and hide in the primary (elementary) school class at night while the men in the village constituted a vigilante group and join[ed] the soldiers in patrolling the area. Sadly, the militia descended and the soldiers fled, leaving the defenseless villagers to be massacred by the terrorists."
International Christian Concern, which reports on the persecution of believers around the world, pointed out at the time that although such raids are not new for the area, the "ferocity and number of attacks in this short period have caused major problems for the beleaguered citizens."
"Also, the fact that there is a military force stationed in the area, that has been completely ineffective, raises even more cause for concern," ICC stated.
Government officials do not recognize that the Fulani are targeting Christians for their faith.
In January, Bishop Diamond Emuobor, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said, "Christians should defend themselves and he who has no sword, should sell his coat and buy one to defend himself. We are all human beings, nobody should catch you like a snail and slaughter because you believe in Jesus Christ."
The bishop also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to do more to stop the killing of Nigerian Christians, noting that people in the northern parts of the country are particularly at risk.