Fulani herdsmen attacks: Teenagers and small kids take up arms (photos)

– Violence blamed on Fulani herdsmen gave Nigeria’s
government another security headache in addition to
Boko Haram
– James Ochoche Edoh, the community leader, said that
more than 20 Agatu villages were affected near the
river Benue that forms the border with Nasarawa
– He noted that despite the presence of troops, people
are still afraid and gather at one place for better
protection
– Teenagers and even small kids carry machetes and
daggers to protect their lives
Blessing Joseph is a 19-year-old student who is living in a
remote village in the Agatu area of Benue state.
As other teenagers who are living in the area, Blessing said
that she would not hesitate to use a rifle if Fulani herdsmen
come back to her village.

Blessing Joseph said she would not hesitate to use a rifle if
Fulani herdsmen come back to her village.
Daily Mail reports that not only teenagers but even young
boys carry machetes and daggers to protect their lives.
“My father told me not to go out without holding a cutlass
with which I can defend myself if attacked,” a nine-year-old
primary school pupil said.

James Ochoche Edoh, the community leader, said that
more than 20 Agatu villages were affected near the river
Benue that forms the border with Nasarawa.
“Approximately 500 people or more could have been
killed,” he claimed.
“The recent attacks took us by surprise. Families have been
separated or killed,” he added.
The worst affected villages in February’s attacks were
Okokolo, Adagbo, Akwu, Aila and Odugbeho.
READ ALSO: Group raises alarm over conspiracy to tag all
Fulani herdsmen as criminals
Speaking with journalists, the residents said that nearly 50
people were killed and more than 1,000 properties were
razed
.
“The Fulanis killed our kinsmen, burnt or destroyed 327 of
our houses in this village and for no just cause,” said
Christopher Onah, the chief of Okokolo.
“There’s nothing left for us again after the attack,” said
Anyebe Peter, a farmer in Adagbo, where seven people
were killed and 250 houses were razed.

“Soldiers told us to leave our homes and gather in one
place for better protection. So, now we sleep in the Catholic
church.”
Onah noted that despite the presence of troops, people are
still afraid.
“Soldiers told us to leave our homes and gather in one
place for better protection. So, now we sleep in the Catholic
church,” he said.
According to the Global Terrorism Index 2015, Fulani
militants killed 1,229 people in 2014, making them “the
fourth most deadly terrorist group” in the world. The Boko
Haram sect that heads the list left at least 20,000 people
dead since 2009.
James Ochoche Edoh, the community leader.
However, the numerous attacks blamed on Fulani are
driven more by a need for increasingly scarce resources
such as land and water rather than radical ideology.
Recently, there have been frequent clashes in the
religiously mixed “Middle Belt”, where Nigeria’s mainly
Muslim north meets the largely Christian south.
With Fulani Muslim and farmers mostly Christian, religion
adds an extra dimension to longstanding ethnic tension.
Edoh said that February’s attacks appeared to be in revenge
for the death of a Fulani leader and the theft of his cattle,
which was blamed on the mainly Christian Agatu.
The residents said that nearly 50 people were killed and
more than 1,000 properties were razed.
In April 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari, himself an
ethnic Fulani, ordered a crackdown on raiders.
“The government will not allow these attacks to continue,”
he said, ordering security forces to “secure all communities
under attack by herdsmen”.
Audu Ogbeh, the minister of agriculture, said that “the
ultimate solution to the Fulani farmers frequent clashes will
be to establish grazing reserves for the herdsmen”.
However, the main umbrella body of Fulani herdsmen’s
groups accused Benue state of opposing the proposal.
READ ALSO: UK paper accuses Buhari of hypocrisy on
corruption
Saleh Bayeri, the national secretary of the Gan Allah Fulani
Development Association, did not deny the Agatu killings
were to avenge the 2013 deaths of some leaders and their
families.
“Fulanis do not forgive such killings. The problem we have
now is that the Fulani are being vilified, provoked, attacked
and killed and when they retaliate they are accused of
terrorism,” he said.
It would be noted that the UK newspaper that analized the
Fulani herdsmen crisis and its consequences, had
earlier took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari for
his war against corruption.
Daily Mail noted that while the Nigerian leader is seen
leading the fight against graft, some shocking accusations
swirl around one of his close friends, Rotimi Amaechi,
The minister of transportation is said to have bankrolled
Buhari’s presidential campaign.
Following the controversial comment made by David
Cameron, the UK newspaper stated that it was the same set
of people who own lavish homes in their country that the
British prime minister wanted to fight corruption with.
According to Daily Mail, everyone knows that Nigeria is a
dumping ground for corrupt money, but there are no
actions to curb it.

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