And it’s not about cattle: Terrorist Influence on Herdsmen Seen in Killing of 12 Christians in Nigeria
As violence against Christians hit in central Nigeria again this week, there areindications that Muslim Fulani herdsmen are working with Islamic extremist groups made up in part of foreigners.
The Rev. Yiman Orkwar, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Makurdi in Benue state, told Morning Star News that Fulani herdsmen seem to have joined forces with Islamic extremist groups.
“From all indications, the terrorism being witnessed in the country is purely in pursuit of Jihad,” Orkwar said. “In Benue state, Fulani terrorists in collaboration with Boko Haram and other foreign mercenaries are causing wanton destruction of lives and property.”
JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Reports of Christians attacked in central and northern Nigeria draw more attention, but in more southerly Benue state Islamic extremists killed at least 205 Christians in the last six months alone, sources said.
In the southeastern part of Nigeria’s middle belt, Benue state’s Agatu Local Government Area saw deadly attacks on Christian farmers by Muslim, ethnic Fulani herdsmen from May through November that displaced an estimated 10,000 people, Christian leaders said.
As in attacks in Plateau state, several of the assailants appeared to be mercenaries from outside the area rather than herdsmen, and locals questioned how the Fulani became so heavily armed. In some of the attacks a herdsmen spokesman alleged stolen cattle as the reason for the bloodshed, but frequently the Nigerian press asserted that motives for the attacks were unknown.
Christian leaders, however, said they had no doubt the Muslim assailants aimed to demoralize and destroy Christians.
In the early hours of Nov. 9, Muslim Fulani gunmen killed 25 Christians in seven villages, said area Christian leader Sule Audu.
“Seven Christian communities were completely ravaged by the rampaging Muslim Fulani gunmen,” Audu said. “The previous Thursday, Nov. 8, two Christian communities of Ikpele and Okpopolo were attacked by the Muslim Fulani herdsmen in a raid that resulted in the killing of three persons, injuring many others, and the displacement of about 6,000 Christians.”
The attacked villages were Ello, Okpagabi, Ogwule-Ankpa, Ogbangede, Ekwo, Enogaje and Okpanchenyi, he said.
Another area Christian leader from Agatu, John Ngbede, confirmed the attacks.
“It is true that Agatu is under attack by Muslim Fulani herdsmen at the moment,” he told Morning Star News. “Many of our Christian brethren have been killed. The Muslim gunmen that are attacking our Christian communities are numerous; they are so many that we can’t count them. They are spread across all the communities and unleashing terror on our people without any security resistance.”
Most of the 6,000 Christians fleeing for their lives have taken refuge at neighboring Apa Local Government Area and at Obagaji, he said.
On Oct. 12, gunmen killed 30 Christians in Oguchi-Ankpa, Christian leaders said. Apochi and Bello said the Christians were killed in their sleep after Muslim Fulani herdsmen broke into their homes. Houses, church buildings and other property were destroyed in the attacks, they said.
On Oct. 4, Muslim Fulani gunmen attacked Ejima, killing three Christians, according to Stephen Dutse, chairman of Agatu Local Government Council. Three days prior, Christian and community leaders in the area had declared a month of fasting and prayer in the face of unceasing attacks on them, he said.
On Sept. 29, Muslim gunmen killed 13 Christians in the Agatu area in the early hours of that Sunday morning as they began worship services.
On July 1, Christian leaders said, Muslim Fulani gunmen attacked Christians in Okpanchenyi village, killing 40 people.
On June 8, Muslim Fulani gunmen attacked a Roman Catholic Church farm at Ichama Christian community of Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue state. Juliana Obeta, chairperson of the Okpokwu Local Government Council, said the assailants killed one Christian. Others were wounded and treated at St. Mary’s Catholic Hospital in Okpoga, she said.
“The Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked our communities on June 7 and 8, killing one person, and carted away 40 cattle belonging to the Catholic Diocese at Ichama,” Obeta said. “Many Christians, mostly children and women, have been forced out of their villages as their homes were destroyed.”
On June 2 and 3, about 45 Christians were killed by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Agatu Local Government Area, Christian leaders said.
On May 12, armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen in the Okpanchenyi and Ekwo Christian communities of Agatu killed 45 Christians. Church leaders said a massive number of Muslim Fulani herdsmen invaded the area on the Sunday night and killed 38 people, while the others were killed in another attack in the early hours of the next day.
Silence from Obama, Ellison, and the rest of their Islamic ilk.