A predominantly Christian community in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna was attacked by suspected Muslim Fulani herdsmen on 31 May, local sources told World Watch Monitor.

They said the early morning attack led to the burning of all the churches and some houses in the community. Pulse Nigeria reported two dead, and several women and children injured.

Children, men and women of the Ninte community ran for their lives towards other local communities for safety. Church leaders in Kafanchan, in the Jema’a Local Government Area, set aside a temporary place for the displaced people trooping into their town. Recently, Kafanchan’s Catholic bishop called for “a global fund to help in the meaningful rehabilitation of victims, to ensure that both land and property of Christians and other vulnerable minorities are returned to them unfailingly”.

The latest attack came when people were planning to return to their farms for this year’s farming season; the resulting fear could ultimately affect local food supplies.

Recent attacks by Fulani herdsmen have left hundreds dead and led thousands to flee from the largely Christian areas of Kaduna, Benue and Taraba states in Nigeria’s farming belt.

Such attacks have features long familiar to Nigerians: ethnic Fulani cattle herders, largely Muslim, moving in on farmers, largely Christian. The long-running land conflict is frequently framed in economic terms, but it also has distinctive religious contours.

According to an aid worker in Benue, the situation in the Middle Belt is comparable to the damage caused by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, but has drawn little international attention.