by WorldTribune Staff, August 20, 2018
More than 6,000 Nigerian Christians, mostly women and children, have been murdered by herdsmen this year, a report said.
“What is happening in Plateau State and other select states in Nigeria is pure genocide and must be stopped immediately,” Christian Association of Nigeria and church denominational heads in Plateau State said in a press release last week.
The church leaders said that “over 6,000 persons, mostly children, women and the aged have been maimed and killed in night raids by Fulani herdsmen” who are armed and predominantly Muslim.
They called on Nigeria’s government “to stop this senseless blood shedding in the land and avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves.”
While Boko Haram terrorists have carried out attacks on Nigeria’s Christians for years, the attacks by the Fulani have become “more deadly than the Boko Haram jihadist insurgency that has ravaged Nigeria’s northeast and is becoming a key issue in the upcoming 2019 presidential polls,” The Guardian reported.
The church leaders also urged the United Nations to intervene, saying they feared the attacks might spread to other countries.
“We are particularly worried at the widespread insecurity in the country where wanton attacks and killings by armed Fulani herdsmen, bandits and terrorists have been taking place on a daily basis in our communities unchallenged despite huge investments in the security agencies,” the leaders added, saying President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to bring the terrorists to justice.
The European Center for Law and Justice last week filed an official request asking the UN to “recognize and put an end to the atrocities being carried about against Christians in Nigeria. Increasingly, Nigeria has become home to radical groups that seek to eliminate Christianity from the country.”
The Nigerian church leaders along with watchdog groups such as Open Doors USA and International Christian Concern, have said that Christians are being deliberately targeted. The groups say media reports have sought to characterize the attacks as a land conflict between community groups.
“We reject the narrative that the attacks on Christian communities across the country as ‘farmers/herdsmen clash.’ The federal government has been so immersed in this false propaganda and deceit while forcefully pushing the policy idea of establishing cattle ranches/colonies on the ancestral farming lands of the attacked communities for the Fulani herdsmen as the only solution to the problem,” the church leaders said.
“How can it be a clash when the herdsmen are the predators and the inhabitant/indigenous farmers are the prey? Until we call a disease by its real name and causatives, it would be difficult to properly diagnose the disease for the right curative medications.”
Roman Catholic Bishop William Avenya of Gboko said the world cannot wait for a full-on genocide before deciding to intervene.
“Please don’t make the same mistake as was made with the genocide in Rwanda,” he told the charity Aid to the Church in Need, referring to the massacre of Tutsi people in Rwanda, where close to 1 million were killed in 1994.
“It happened beneath our noses, but no one stopped it. And we know well how that ended,” Avenya said.