At least ten people were killed as suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked Christian communities in Kogi state on Monday, 14 May.
Nigeria has been plagued by violence attributed to the herdsmen, particularly in the Middle Belt and northeast. But now the violence is also affecting the predominantly Christian south states, with attacks happening almost on a daily basis.
According to the Nigerian website This Day Live, the assailants, armed with sophisticated weapons, invaded two farmers’ settlements in the Ijumu Local Government Area in the early hours of Monday.
They started shooting sporadically, killing people as they tried to run for their lives, witnesses told This Day. The assailants also reportedly destroyed goods worth several thousand dollars and stole foodstuffs.
The Administrator of Mopamuro Local Government Area, Moses Sunday David, condemned the attack, saying: “I am surprised that the attack came barely a week after we had a peace and security meeting at the Elulu’s [local ruler] palace to forestall this kind of unfortunate occurrence.”
Two months ago, a traditional ruler, Musa Edibo, his wife and eight other people were killed as suspected herdsmen stormed four villages (Agbenema, Aj’Ichekpa, Opada and Iyade) in the Omala Local Government Area of the same state on 19 March. Several houses were also burnt down, according to the Nigerian Vanguard website.
A source told the site that the security personnel deployed to curtail the herdsmen killings refused to assist the locals in repelling the herdsmen.
A week earlier, on 14 March, 32 people lost their lives when suspected herdsmen attacked their communities in Omala and also Dekina Local Government Areas, as Nigeria’s Guardian website reported.
The assailants, dressed in military uniforms and carrying AK-47s, also burnt down over 20 houses, according to an eyewitness.
Attacks by Fulani militants have reached an unprecedented level in recent months. On 24 April, 19 worshippers, including priests Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, were killed in neighbouring Benue state, prompting outrage in Nigeria and elsewhere.
US President Donald Trump decried the killings of Christians in Nigeria as he met with the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, in Washington last month (30 April).
“We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria,” said Trump. “We are going to work on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen.”