Villages in Central Nigeria: Abandoned to their fate?

29 October 2021

Violence in central Nigeria continues to escalate. Groups of well-armed Fulani militia attack and overrun villages. They use AK47s, anti-aircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenades and chemical powders to burn homes (YouTube propaganda videos show their cache of weapons). The militia attack isolated communities and when individuals are at their most vulnerable. As the villagers run, they are chased and hacked to death.


Humanitarian Catastrophe

HART’s partner in Nigeria, Revd Canon Hassan John, continues to visit the worst-affected areas to obtain evidence of atrocities. He told us today:

“In Southern Kaduna state, at least seven communities have been attacked. Villagers are forced to move onto the next village. None of these villages have received security or humanitarian assistance from the Government of Nigeria. Families in neighbouring villages do what they can to absorb and care for their relatives. In one room, I saw 40 people sleeping on the same floor.

“Not all villages are necessarily ‘destroyed’. The Fulani militia might attack one or two homes, or start a fire – community leaders are their primary targets. The villagers are forced to flee. As the villagers run, they are chased and hacked to death.”

Food aid is distributed to displaced villagers by our partners

Abandoned to their Fate?

There is no support from the Nigerian police or military for these isolated villages in central Nigeria. Since the Fulani militia insurgency began over six years ago, the Government has been unable to stop the violence.

Former Army Chief of Staff and Defence Minister, Lt General Theophilus Danjuma, warned previously that the armed forces were, “not neutral; they collude” in the, “ethnic cleansing in … riverine states” by Fulani militia and insisted that villagers must defend themselves because, “depending on the armed forces,” will result in them dying, “one by one. The ethnic cleansing must stop.”

The Nigerian Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, said in February:

“We shouldn’t be cowards…[the people] should stand and let these people know that even the villagers have the competency and capabilities to defend themselves.”

The Government’s incompetence or unwillingness to help has caused some villages to form their own counter-insurgency groups. Young men are being mobilised to fight against Fulani militia. The security situation is therefore highly volatile. There is now a real risk of the emergence of an untrained, irregular army of local vigilantes.

HART continues to shine a light on these urgent concerns. We are working through our local partners to deliver humanitarian assistance to central Nigeria. If you would like to support our work, click here.


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