NIGERIA: Troops Shoot Students Protesting Attacks on Christian Villages

23 April 2024

Source: Release International

On 18 April, sources claim the Fulani militia attacked residents of Christian-majority villages in Plateau State, who were trying to defend their homes. In an unfolding situation with conflicting accounts, it is claimed more than 40 mainly Christian farmers have been killed by Fulani militants over seven days, and that students who protested the lack of military protection have been fired on by the army.

According to the Nigerian media, militia began their attack on communities in Plateau State while residents were sleeping. One village was close to the university. Student Dading James Jordan was among those killed, along with a pregnant woman.

The following morning students from Plateau State University carried the body of Dading James to the local military checkpoint. There are reports that Nigerian soldiers have shot at students protesting over the lack of military protection for a Christian-majority area that came under attack by Fulani militia. It is alleged the students set fire to the military checkpoint.

The Nigerian authorities have acknowledged that two students were shot by security forces but claim they were hit by stray bullets. They say the army opened fire during what they describe as “emotional protests”.

Other sources say more students were wounded. They accuse the army of twice opening fire on civilian protesters in the space of a week, “shooting at six youths protecting their village from a terrorist invasion on April 13”.

Sources said that despite the residents’ attempts to resist using sticks, stones, slingshots and farming implements, soldiers intervened by shooting at them and dispersing their defence efforts. Meanwhile, Fulani terrorists, armed with automatic rifles, remained unchallenged just five hundred metres away.

This latest round of attacks is said to be the work of the same group of Fulani militia that attacked villages in the area on Christmas Eve, killing around two hundred and driving up to 20,000 from their homes. Five years earlier, in coordinated attacks on the same area, Fulani militia killed 235 villagers. The Nigerian military was given warning of both attacks yet failed to prevent them.

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