West & Central Africa

Death toll from Fulani herdsmen continues to rise in Central Nigeria

Nine people were killed by militant Islamic Fulani cattle herders in Nzharuvo village, about 15 kilometres from Jos, Plateau State, Central Nigeria on the evening of Thursday 8 March.

This happened just as President Buhari rounded up his visit to the state where he commended the state government for its “peace building” initiative.

Global Christian News was at the mass burial of victims of the massacre on Friday as families mourned the dead in makeshift graves. The dead were given quick burials because taking the corpses to the mortuary would be expensive for them and leaving them will serve no purpose, a church leader said.

The Rev Andrew Okebe, speaking to Global Christian News, said the gunmen could be identified by the language they spoke during the attack – though they wore black gowns and wore black face masks. People fled into the bushes and those that were either too old to run or were invalid were killed. An entire family, who could not run out of their home were butchered. A toddler hacked with a machete died two days later in the hospital.

“As a pastor, I join other pastors to take our turns every night as part of the community vigilante. We can only take turns to sleep at night, but the issue here is, just as they came, how do we defend our village with sticks and torchlights? We can only raise alarms so people can run. But how far can you run from the bullet of an AK 47 in the dark?” said the Rev Okebe.

“It is a shame that the herdsmen chose to prove to us that even with the visit of the president amidst tight security, they can destroy us and nothing will be done.”

A Church elder who wants anonymity, said: “Of course Buhari only came to play politics and our governor is trying to prove that he has everything under control. They have played their politics, we are left to bury our dead. Nothing will happen, that is how life is now.”


Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

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