As Nigerian Christians continue to battle Islamic militant group Boko Haram, they are faced with another fierce enemy: Fulani herdsmen. The Fulani are a semi-nomadic, pastoralist ethnic group living in the central regions of Nigeria, and are almost exclusively Muslim. They have clashed with Christian farmers over land disputes on a regular basis, but have now begun slaughtering believers indiscriminately.
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On the eve of Nigerian President Buhari’s meeting with President Trump in Washington, D.C., back in April, 19 Christians were murdered by Fulani herdsmen in a horrific attack.
“The herdsmen burnt nearly 50 houses during the attack and sacked the entire community,” state police spokesperson Terver Akase told CNN.
Now, a local bishop has said that the Fulani are attempting to completely eradicate the Christian faith from the Middle Belt region of Nigeria.
“There is a clear agenda – a plan – to Islamise all of the areas that are currently predominantly Christian in the so-called Middle Belt of Nigeria,” Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe of Makurdi told Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need.
He explained how 11 parishes in his diocese had been viciously attacked.
“The Fulani tribesmen, for the most part, live in the forests and cannot afford the luxury of such sophisticated weapons – so who is funding them?” Anagbe continued, before criticizing the national security forces who are tasked with combatting the militants.
“When the attacks take place, there are never any police or soldiers present,” he noted.
Anagbe warned that the Fulani and Boko Haram have the same end-goal in mind: to convert the entire region to Islam and wipe out Christianity completely.
“Both groups are united in the same intention to Islamize the entire region,” he said, before pleading for prayer and support.
“Please pray for us and make yourself spokesmen for the suffering our community is going through,” he added. “We need people to raise their voices in our defense.”
In his summit with the Nigerian leader last month, President Trump did not mince his words regarding the persecution of Christians in the African nation:
“We’ve had very serious problems with Christians who are murdered, killed in Nigeria,” Trump said as he sat with Buhari in the Oval Office, before adding that “we can’t allow that to happen.”
The president emphasized the same point at a joint press conference held in the Rose Garden:
“We are deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians. It’s a horrible story. We encourage Nigeria to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths.” he explained.
He then issued a word directly to the Nigerian leader: “We encourage Nigeria and the federal state and local leaders to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths including Muslims and including Christians.”
Christian charity Open Doors has reported extensively on the savage violence committed by these Islamic extremists:
“The violence perpetrated by militant elements of the Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria is chilling – in the last year, 50 Christian villages have been destroyed and thousands have been killed,” Open Doors’ Head of Advocacy, Zoe Smith, said in a recent statement. “As the leader of Nigeria and a Fulani himself, President Buhari is strategically placed to bring an end to this violence.”
(H/T: Christian Today)