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Tuesday 24th April 2018
Two Priests and 17 worshippers were killed last Tuesday at the hands of the Fulani Herdsmen during an early morning mass service in Benue state, Nigeria. The State police spokesman Trevor Akase told CNN that the herdsmen “burnt nearly 50 houses during the attack and sacked the entire community”. President Buhari promptly condemned the attack, stating that the attack was “vile, evil and satanic” and that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.
Wreaking havoc in the Middle Belt region of Central Nigeria –where the Muslim North meet the predominantly Christian South- since 2013, the Fulani Herdsmen conflict is now more deadly than the Boko Haram insurgency.
Who are the Fulani Herdsmen?
The Fulani are traditionally nomadic or semi-nomadic herders that raise livestock throughout West and Central Africa. For the last five years; the traditionally Muslim Fulani Herdsmen have been terrorising Christian farmers and their communities in Nigeria over rights to land for cattle grazing. Desertification and resource scarcity have exacerbated the deep-rooted ethnic tensions between the Fulani and Christian farmers and continued inaction by the Nigerian Government has sparked increased concerns. Many believe that President Buhari has shied away from addressing the Fulani conflict as he himself is a Fulani by birth. An ethnic group made up of 20 million people, the Fulani have been responsible for more deaths than Boko Haram since 2016.