Last weekend, armed Muslim militants known as “Fulani herdsmen” open fired on on Christians in a number of villages in Plateau State of central Nigeria, killing scores and injuring hundreds more, as well as burning some 50 homes to the ground. Now according to latest reports, the number of casualties may have raised to 200.
Despite the evidently terrorist nature of the slaughter, mainstream media chose to downplay the militant Islamism behind the attacks, preferring to attribute the violence to “ethnic tensions,” a “battle for land and resources,” or even “climate change.” Most of the victims in the attack were returning home from the funeral of the father of a local Christian minister.
The Fulani herdsmen, also known as the Fulani militia, are a semi-nomadic group herding cattle over vast areas, living in the central regions of Nigeria. The majority of the herdsmen are Muslim and have fought with Christian farmers over grazing land for centuries.
Thousands of people have left their homes as a result of the recent violence. The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el Rufai, ordered a dawn to dusk curfew.
Herdsmen set fire to a number of buildings, including churches, in Kwi as well. The precise number of casualties is unknown, but many villagers were displaced and are now living in camps in neighboring villages.
“We’ve been living peacefully with [Fulani herdsmen]” said one Pastor Kwol. “Since this crisis started in Plateau in recent months, our people have not killed one Fulani man. Instead, they have been killing our people one by one. We just buried them and carried on.” he said.
“As a result of the ongoing insecurity, there are places where people can no longer go to farm,” he said, “because when they go, the Fulani will come and take their cows, or attack them.”
“Just two weeks ago, they shot my wife’s young brother. But he survived. He was discharged on Wednesday and had returned home on Thursday, only to get killed in the last attack, on Saturday,” he said.