On April 1, Jubilee Campaign took part in a timely rally, outside of the White House protesting against massacres in Nigeria that have killed thousands of Christians. Our protest, which took place while Nigerian President Buhari was in Washington, D.C., demanded action from the Obama and Buhari administrations to stop the violence conducted by a Nigerian tribe called the Fulani whose primary livelihood is in cattle herding and who are mostly Muslim. Victims of their violence have been agrarian Nigerians of indigenous tribes, who are predominantly Christian. In conjunction with this protest, Jubilee Campaign sent letters to President Obama and President Buhari outlining our concerns and requests. Because the US has great influence and strong relations with Nigeria, we requested to President Obama that he urge President Buhari to take action, and to President Buhari that he put an end to impunity in the violent raids which have killed thousands of innocent children, women, and men.
The Fulani herdsmen are a group of nomadic cattle herders who have affected northern and central Nigerian communities with their violent attacks that include murder, destruction of homes and crops, and land grabbing. Because the Fulani are herdsmen, they often overtake land and use it for their cattle grazing. Though the Fulani have had a history of violence, they have never conducted so many systematic and lethal attacks as has occurred in recent years.
During their attacks, groups of armed Fulani, often hundreds at a time, storm a village and either kill people with their machetes or guns or burn their homes trapping the families inside. Concerns have risen over the apparent rise in radicalization of the Fulani. Many survivors of attacks have reported that the attackers cry “Allahu Akhbar,” meaning “Allah is greater.” The group has also recently gained much more advanced weapons than they have had in the past, such as AK47s. Because of these developments, many locals speculate that the Fulani herdsmen are closely linked with Boko Haram.
Just last Monday, an attack was reported in two villages, Dori and Mesuma. Local police have reported that at least 15 people were killed, while resident reports claim over 40 were killed. Though police officers tried to respond to the attack, they were unable to access the villages by vehicle due to poor road conditions. An unconfirmed report claims that the attack was conducted in response to a member of the Fulani herdsmen being stopped from raping one of the women in the community.
The violence that Nigerian communities are facing is startling. Amid continuing attacks, Jubilee Campaign is persistently taking up efforts to call for justice against perpetrators and the protection of victimized communities.
Please fervently pray for peace in Nigeria.
Read the letter that we sent to President Obama here.