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Herdsmen Killed 2000 in nine months says Rights group

West & Central Africa

Herdsmen Killed 2000 in nine months says Rights group

Over 2,000 Christians have been killed since January this year, said International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, a human rights organisation in Nigeria, stating that “the Fulani jihadists killed no fewer than 1,750 Christians in the first six months of 2018 or January to June.”

These killings, perpetrated solely by Islamic Fulani cattle herdsmen, “does not include the number of Christians killed by Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria since January 2018 or ‘battle-field related deaths’.” The Rights group said.

St. Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla, Suleja/Reuters

The rights group added that in the “follow-up statement of 11th July 2018, the number of Christian victims of the Fulani jihadists’ attacks increased to 1,870, indicating the killing of additional 120 Christians in less than ten days or between 2nd and 11th July 2018. The killings associated with the 120 Christian deaths specifically took place in Adamawa and Taraba villages and communities.” The Civil rights group stated.

“It must be stated clearly that anti-Christian attacks including killings and destruction of properties and sacred places and symbols of worship by Fulani jihadists are solely perpetrated or targeted against members, properties and sacred places of worship of members of the Christian faith in industrial scale as well as members of other non-Muslim population in Nigeria.” The report signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, the Board Chairman and Obianuju Igboeli Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Programme said.

“A clear case in point was the barrage of social media attacks, aspersions and vituperations cast or poured on a pentecostal pastor who went on social media to appeal for Western intervention and assistance over the incessant attacks in Christian in Nigeria including the recent massacre by Fulani jihadists of Pastor Adamu Wurim, his wife and three children in Plateau State,” the statement said.

Home of Christian leaders targeted in Plateau/Pic-Author

“It is still on record that no single Muslim or mosque has been targeted for death or destruction by the jihadists in the country or any part thereof… Statistically, a total of no fewer than 2,000 Christians have been killed since January 2018,” the human rights group said.

President Muhammadu Buhari had claimed, in April, while playing host to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, that the crisis and killings have “always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region.”

Denys Gauer, outgoing French ambassador to Nigeria, has however dismissed the claim saying “The reason for the killings is demography; some people are fighting for land, so there must be direct policy to develop agriculture and animal husbandry,” Gauer said adding that “impunity is encouraging the killings and those responsible must be punished. I don’t believe foreigners are involved in the killings.

Gauer insists that the government has been unable of unwilling to bring the perpetrators to justice. “When there is that kind of killing, there must be proper prosecution and perpetrators must be properly sentenced. If that does not happen then, it cannot end.” Gauer said.

 

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

Image credits/Author Fulani Herdsmen/Google Images/St Theresa Church attack

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