The bodies of 75 people have been recovered following a string of attacks by Fulani herdsmen on the predominantly Christian community of Miango, in Plateau state, central Nigeria.
Jerry Datim, a religious leader from the area, said that the first attack took place on 24 January, “It was about 12 noon, when some Fulani men laid and ambush around Rafiki, a place well close to the 3rd Army Division Cantonment. They killed three people, before moving on to another village, Jebbu Bassa, where they also killed three people. They also burned down a lot of properties.”
He said the assailants continued their killing spree, unchallenged. Most recently killing two Christians on their farm and another in his garden on the 4 February.
In all, 14 villages have been targeted, with 89 houses set on fire and vast swathes of farmland destroyed. Up to 3,000 villagers are now taking refuge with their relatives in neighbouring communities having lost their ancestral homes and livelihoods in the attacks. Some of the affected villages had just finished fixing the roofs of their houses, after the attacks last October 2017.
Failure to protect the people
Datim has been exasperated by the lack of government intervention, saying, “Political leaders in the state have failed to protect the people from the Fulani attackers because they fear that President Muhammadu Buhari may move against any politician that goes against the Fulani, who are Buhari’s kinsmen,”
A local pastor, Rev. Jacob Gidado, who visited the affected villages, called on President Buhari to protect Christians against the ‘incessant killings’, saying Christians, especially in northern Nigeria, have been ‘persecuted beyond measure’.
The recent attacks are believed to have been motivated by a dispute over stolen cows.
On 25 January, Mallam Nuru Abdullah, the Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders of Nigeria (MACBAN), an association of Fulani herders, said in a press statement that some of its members had lost 350 cows and 54 sheep, alleging that they may have been stolen.
A military spokesman dismissed the claim by MACBAN, saying that only 53 cattle had been missing and that nearly all were recovered. The Irigwe Development Association (IDA), comprising local farmers, pointed out that its people have no interest in cattle, as their occupation is farming.
- For those who are grieving the death of family and friends
- For sustenance and provision for communities who have lost their livelihood
- That the government would act to bring peace and stability to the region.