“The dastardly acts of terrorism unleashed by suspected Fulani militias in Plateau state have continued to claim lives, destruction of property including home and farmed crops on daily bases,” Mwamtiri said.
Alfred Alabo, spokesman for the Plateau State Command, confirmed the attacks in response to Morning Star News inquires.
“I can confirm these attacks and want to say that security personnel have been deployed to ensure normalcy is restored in the affected communities,” Alabo said.
Makut Macham, spokesman for the office of the Plateau state governor, also recognized the attacks.
“These attacks are another attempt to reintroduce the era of violence and crises which have been largely contained due to the government’s huge investment in security, peace building and reconciliation,” Macha said. “While commiserating with those who lost their lives and properties, the governor directed the Peace Building Agency and the State Emergency Management Agency to immediately reach out to the victims with support.”
Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith in 2022, with 5,014, according to Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List (WWL) report. It also led the world in Christians abducted (4,726), sexually assaulted or harassed, forcibly married or physically or mentally abused, and it had the most homes and businesses attacked for faith-based reasons. As in the previous year, Nigeria had the second most church attacks and internally displaced people.
In the 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to sixth place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 7 the previous year.
“Militants from the Fulani, Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and others conduct raids on Christian communities, killing, maiming, raping and kidnapping for ransom or sexual slavery,” the WWL report noted. “This year has also seen this violence spill over into the Christian-majority south of the nation… Nigeria’s government continues to deny this is religious persecution, so violations of Christians’ rights are carried out with impunity.”
Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.
“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.
Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.
This article originally appeared here.