ABUJA, Nigeria—Suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked more than 10 settlements in the mostly Christian Adara community in central Nigeria over four days last week. At least 20 people died in the dayslong carnage that left several others injured or missing.
In another spate of terrorism in the country May 11 through 13, armed insurgents killed at least 25 people in five villages. The violence followed a familiar pattern: The attackers gunned down people, set homes on fire, and destroyed food supplies. The victims included a 40-year-old man, his wife, and their three children, including a 4-year-old.
Community leaders, aid workers, and security analysts continue calling for intervention into the persistent violence that plagues central and northern Nigeria. The Southern Kaduna People’s Union said the recent unrest has displaced at least 15,000 people in the state. Since January, Kaduna has recorded 63 terror attacks, 107 deaths, and about 111 burned properties, said Awema Maisamari, national president of the Adara Development Association.
The Adara community has long suffered targeted offensives and asked the United States to intervene last year. The community said attacks between February and April 2019 resulted in the deaths of at least 400 people and the displacement of about 13,000 others.
“Our brutalized, dehumanized, terrified, and traumatized community members are reeling in pain, ever wondering why this contrived anarchy is still being condoned by the powers that be,” Maisamari said in a statement.
The unrest extends south into central Plateau State, where militants targeted Anglican Canon Bayo James Famonure earlier this month in his home. Famonure, his wife, and their two sons survived. But farther south, in Benue state, insurgents killed 12 Christians in similar assaults.
Changing environmental conditions and lax law enforcement have pushed nomadic herders to search for grazing pastures in Nigeria. But their incursions against farmers resemble Boko Haram’s attacks against Christians in the north. The Islamic State–aligned militant group presents a growing threat to Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.
Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen have killed 620 Christians since January, according to a report released earlier this month by the Nigeria-based International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law.
“The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists,” the report states.
The Kaduna state police force said it arrested some suspects, and state Gov. Nasir El-Rufai met with local leaders and state sector chiefs to discuss solutions to the crisis.
But Mark Lipdo, founder of the Stefanos Foundation, which serves persecuted Christians, said the response still falls short: “If authorities are acting to protect the people, they will act exactly at the time insurgents are there to attack the people.”