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Nigeria: Thousands of Christians slaughtered in worsening attacks

January 2019 | by Shirin Aguiar

Baroness Cox

Fresh back from a fact-finding mission to Nigeria, Baroness Cox reports that thousands of Christians have reportedly been killed in escalating attacks led by Fulani militia.

She visited the Anguldi Refugee Camp in Jos, Plateau State, which provides shelter to 2,600 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and spoke to a number of survivors.

Deaconess Susan Essam in Jos said, ‘They shot Sarah’s husband and children and so she begged them to kill her too, but they refused, saying that they wanted her to cry and bear the pain.’

Margaret from Ngar village said, ‘My sister was raped and her wrists cut off before she was shot through the heart. They took my brother, his wife and all their six children, tied and slaughtered them like animals.’

Lydia from Ningon village said, ‘They were hacking and killing people, making sure that those that were shot were finished off…They wore red to conceal blood splashes on their clothes as they butchered their victims.’

Helen from Gana-Ropp said, ‘I called my brother but there was no reply. The next morning I found out that he, his wife and four others were shot, butchered and burnt.’

Baroness Cox said, ‘The UK government and mainstream media have characterised these attacks as ‘ethnic riots’ or ‘tit-for-tat tribal clashes between farmers and herders’.

‘While the causes of violence are complex, the asymmetry and escalation of attacks by well-armed Fulani upon predominately Christian communities is stark and must be acknowledged. We must not ignore their suffering any longer.’

The Christian Association of Nigeria estimates that between January and June last year, around 6,000 people were killed by Fulani militia. The Global Terrorism Index in 2016 and 2017 named Fulani militants as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world, with only Boko Haram, ISIS and al-Shabab being accounted deadlier.

There are almost two million internally displaced people in Nigeria, the vast majority banished by the insurgencies of Boko Haram and Fulani militia. The situation is expected to worsen before Nigeria’s general election next month (February 16).

Shirin Aguiar