While all eyes are on Nigeria’s north-eastern regions where the radical group Boko Haram is at last being challenged by multi-national military forces, violence targeting Christian communities in the group of states across the centre of Nigeria, known as the Middle Belt, has increased dramatically.
This comes ahead of presidential elections on 28 March. The vote pits the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south, against the former military leader Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim.
Grazing rights have also been suggested as a motive for the massacre.
In the early hours of 15 March in a village in Benue state, close to the Cameroon border, as many as 100 people, including women and children, were slaughtered by Fulani herdsmen, who broke into homes and started shooting while their victims slept.
A witness who escaped the killings said, ‘We were still sleeping when they entered our village and started shooting sporadically in all directions, killing every human and animal in sight.’
It is the worst attack by herdsmen in four years.
Many Fulani are known to have strong links with regional Islamist movements. They are largely a nomadic tribe, who spread across national boundaries and are found in countries from Senegal to Sudan.
Since 2011, hundreds of lives have been lost during raids or because of targeted killings by Fulani, with many victims from Christian communities.
Source: World Watch Monitor, The New York Times
- Uphold to our Lord the traumatised, grieving and injured; ask that His ministering Spirit might bring comfort, healing and strength during this time of great suffering.
- May the Christians in the area not seek retaliation, but instead be willing to forgive and intercede for the militants who perpetrated these heartless attacks.
- Pray the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Pray too for those who are attempting to bring an end to the violence throughout Nigeria. Pray for the upcoming elections.