Fulani militants killed 46 Christians in attacks on villages in Benue state in southeastern Nigeria over a two-day period earlier this month.
Morning Star News reports the so-called “herdsmen” invaded Imande Mbakange village in the early hours of June 3, killing 28 Christians, according to a press release from the Shitile Development Association.
Then on June 4, the militants attacked and killed another 18 Christians in the villages of Michihe, Achamegh, and Mbagene.
“Altogether, 46 Christians were killed by the terrorists in the two days of attacks on our communities,” Samuel Door, the SDA president, and Ephraim Zuai, the secretary said in the release. “Most disturbing also is the fact that the identity of the perpetrators is known to security agencies and the Nigerian government, and yet nothing has been done to end this carnage.”
slider img 2Those who escaped have fled the areas for safety, leaving behind their homes and farmlands, the two men said, according to Morning Star News.
“As our people are fleeing, herders are occupying these areas and grazing freely on our farms,” the two community leaders said. “Though due to the fear of general insecurity, it is difficult to move from village to village to gather exact statistics, hordes of lives have been horrendously eliminated in several villages across the land, such that the whole land is thrown into wailing and mourning.”
Catherine Anene, the spokesperson for the Benue State Police Command, told Morning Star they had received reports from Katsina-Ala about a breakdown of law and order in the area.
“Police personnel and other security agents have been deployed to the area to end the attacks,” she said.
Over 1,000 Christians Killed by Islamic Groups So Far in 2023
As CBN News reported in April, 1,041 followers of Jesus Christ were killed in Nigeria in the first 100 days of 2023, according to the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), a Christian watchdog group.
The organization blamed the jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and other jihadists’ genocidal attacks for the deaths. In the past 14 years, over 50,000 Christians have been killed by Islamic extremists, according to the group.
The Fulani herdsmen, also known as the Fulani militia, are often radical Muslims who target Christians in their relentless attacks on villages across the West African country.
More Than 5,000 Nigerian Christians Murdered in 2022
In 2022, 5,028 Nigerian citizens were killed for being Christians, according to Intersociety.
The Fulani herdsmen, also known as the Fulani militia, are often radical Muslims who target Christians in the region.
“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief said in a recent report.
They were early adopters of Islam participating in jihads in the 16th century which established them as a dominant social and economic force in Western Africa, according to WorldWatch Monitor.
Nigeria currently ranks as No. 6 on the Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country jumped to sixth place, its highest-ever ranking on the list, from No. 7 last year.
“Persecution is most severe and most prevalent in the north, where militant groups such as Boko Haram, ISWAP and Fulani militants seem to increasingly work together against Christians, and against Muslims who don’t support their agenda. The raids on Christian communities, and other forms of violence, lead to large numbers of Christians (and other Nigerians) being forced to live in camps for internally displaced people,” the Open Doors World Watch List said.
“Women and children are particularly vulnerable in these camps. Children suffer health issues, and women and girls are vulnerable to human trafficking,” the List noted.
“Violence remains the most dangerous and prevalent threat in Nigeria. Christians continue to be attacked indiscriminately and brutally in northern Nigeria, and the violence has now spread to southern Nigeria. Fulani militants and ‘bandits’ have settled in southern forests, making access to farmlands increasingly difficult for Christian farmers. These militants pose a significant threat to Christian women and girls, who may be subjected to sexual harassment and forced marriage,” the List continued.
“Abductions for ransom have increased considerably over recent years, including the abduction of church leaders,” the List said.