According to an Open Doors researcher, more than 200 people have been killed in Nigeria’s northern and northeastern regions in suspected Boko Haram attacks since 30 June. Farther south, Christians are facing ethnic cleansing at the hands of nomadic Fulani militants driven by the same agenda as that of Boko Haram
According to World Watch Monitor it has been a deadly July in Nigeria. More than 200 people have been killed since 30 June, in attacks that have come almost daily in the country’s northern and northeastern regions, the stronghold of the militant Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram.
Obscured by Boko Haram’s headlines, violence also has raged farther south, where a lesser reported, years-long campaign has claimed thousands of Christian lives. Militants among the ethnic Fulani, a predominantly Muslim and nomadic population of cattle herders, are suspected of killing dozens of Christians in the states of Plateau and Taraba in recent months. These two states form the eastern end of Nigeria’s “Middle Belt” – the handful of states straddling the pre-colonial line dividing Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim North from its Christian South.
Open Doors researcher, Yonas Dembele’s research concludes that the pattern of Fulani violence in the region – their use of military-grade weapons to drive Christians off the land and to occupy it; the destruction of Christian homes and churches; and their call for the imposition of Islamic law, among other hallmarks – amounts to ethnic cleansing of the Middle Belt. The campaign, Dembele argues, is animated by the same ambition that drives Boko Haram: To bring the non-Islamic world under Islamic rule. Dembele writes that “the nature of the conflict seems to follow the historical pattern where the Hausa-Fulani Muslim oligarchy has used colonial legacies, political policies and religious sentiments in order to conquer and dominate the Middle Belt region.”
Read the full research analysis, here.