In Nigeria a new wave of attacks has seen dozens of Christians killed across the country. The violence has hit the north-eastern state of Adamawa, and the Middle Belt states of Nasarawa and Benue, where Fulani herdsmen have caused havoc in recent years.
At least 30 people were killed in attacks by armed men, believed to be Fulani herdsmen, against four Christian communities.
One attack took place in broad daylight, as people were about to go to church, a local source told Open Doors. The assailants chased and killed the villagers and burned down nine churches and many more houses.
“Despite several calls to the governor and his deputy, and other security apparatus, the government remained silent as the atrocities continued,” the source said. “The Fulani were able to carry out their deadly attack. They stayed for hours in the vicinity, moving at will, unchallenged.”
In the central state of Nasarawa, some 25 villages have been destroyed since 15 January. The inhabitants of the affected villages are predominantly Christian farmers from the Tiv ethnic group.
An umbrella group, ‘Concerned Indigenous Tiv People’, has accused the authorities of not doing enough to protect their communities.
In a statement, the group wrote: “Since the outbreak of the crisis on the 15th January, this year, due to the Fulani/herdsmen attack on our villages, leading to the displacement of Tiv in their ancestral homes, the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Almakura, has done very little to bring the situation under control.”
Benue state has been among the worst affected by Fulani herdsmen attacks in recent months. On 11 January, 73 people were buried during state-organised mass funerals following violence over the New Year in Makurdi, Benue’s capital.
Two more people were killed, and several others seriously injured in fresh attacks in the state on the 6 February. Houses were set ablaze and possessions destroyed.
On Wednesday (7 February) the Nigerian Army said it would send troops into the Middle Belt. According to an Army spokesman, Major General David Ahmadu, the deployment will start from 15 February, and will crack down on attacks on communities by armed militias.
- For comfort for those who have lost loved ones in attacks
- That they will resist the temptation to retaliate or avenge themselves
- For justice to be done.