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Nigeria: Fulani militants claim more Christian lives

July 2020

Children are among the victims of Fulani militants, who killed 17 villagers at midnight on May 12, 2020. Picture Release International, Stefano Foundation
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Fulani militants have killed 620 Christians in the first five months of 2020 in Northern Nigeria, a report has claimed.

The report, by the International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (ISCLRL), stated the attacks are growing and have the characteristics of an undeclared jihad against Christians.

According to the ISCLRL, 32,000 Christians have been killed by Islamist militants since 2009. The United Nations has put the figure killed in the conflict in northern Nigeria at 27,000.

Release International partner the Stefanos Foundation has estimated that 30,000 have died in the continuing violence.

Mark Lipdo, spokesman for Stefanos, said, ‘Attackers have claimed more than 30,000 lives. We are seeing a systematic strategy that enforces what the ethnic minorities believe is a jihad. Christians in northern Nigeria are being annihilated. It is heading towards a genocide.’

Stefanos Foundation has been providing relief aid to attack victims for more than a decade, and works with Release to provide trauma counselling.

One of the latest attacks was against the village of Gonan Rogo in Kaduna State. Armed Fulani militants waited until around midnight on May 12 until the villagers were asleep, then set upon them with guns and knives.

The dead included Jonathan Yakubu, along with his wife and all their children, aged six, nine, and 15. The militia also killed a six-month-old baby in the raid. Miraculously, a three-month-old baby survived (pictured), after a bullet passed through her mother’s heart and penetrated the baby’s skull.

According to Release’s sister organisation Voice of the Martyrs (USA), the attack on Gonan Rogo was part of a wave of 13 assaults by Fulani militants on villages in Kaduna and Plateau states.

Paul Robinson, chief executive of Release International, said, ‘The Nigerian government is at best ineffective, at worst reluctant, to prevent these attacks.

‘Christians in Nigeria have faced an onslaught by Boko Haram terrorists. Now they are having to endure even more deadly attacks by armed Fulani militants. How many more Christian villagers have to die before Nigeria’s military and police take effective action?’

Mr Robinson continued, ‘Observers fear the world is simply standing by and watching as this violence unfolds in the most populous nation in Africa. Our message to Nigeria and the international community is intervene and stop this now — before it is too late.’

The Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, headed by Baroness Cox, has estimated 6,000 Christians have been murdered in Nigeria since 2015.