Herdsmen have killed more Nigerians than Boko Haram has done in 2016.
According to very conservative figures compiled by TheCable in 2015, Boko Haram killed over 4,000 Nigerians within the calendar year, down from 6,347 in 2014.
From 2009 to 2015, the insurgents put a halt to more than 30,000 lives – innocent civilians full of dreams of their own, dreams that could have been useful to the country’s match to development.
However, the current trend shows herdsmen may outrun Boko Haram for the cruellest killer group in Nigeria for the year 2016.
So far in 2016, very conservative figures have shown that the sect has killed at least 440 people in Nigeria, while Boko Haram has killed 202 within the Nigerian borders.
BOKO HARAM “TECHNICALLY DEFEATED”?
In January 2016, the sect, which was said to have been technically defeated, was on the receiving end of the Nigerian army’s firepower, perpetrating little of no attacks in January.
The sect however launched its offense in February, after the military claimed to have freed 1,000 civilians and killed 100 members of the sect.
Boko Haram killed about 60 people in Dikwa, Borno state, on February 9, as it struggled to renew its campaign in the northeast, claiming its largest casualty for the year.
Four day later, Boko Haram killed another 22 people in Biu, Borno state, in a deadly suicide attack, showing the state of the sect.
In March, 2016, Boko Haram’s largest attack was in a mosque in Maiduguri, where the two suicide bombers, who were young girls, killed 22 people.
Based on our tracking data, the Nigerian army has killed more Boko Haram terrorist and arrested much more than the sect has done to civilians in 2016 – underscoring the upper hand of the military in recent times.
HERDSMEN HEADING FOR DESTRUCTION?
Herdsmen on the other hand have continually killed with little or no opposition from security agencies.
On February 6, 2016, herdsmen were reported to have raided Buruku, a town in Benue state, killing 12 people. Less than a week later, six others were killed in the Agatu community of the state.
With little or no opposition from state actors, the herdsman came for a full bloodbath in the last week of February, killing over 300 members of the community, in what has been dubbed the Agatu Massacre.
After the massacre, herdsmen, went on to raid Tarka, Logo and Buruku communities, were over 20 deaths were recorded.
On Monday, herdsmen were reported to have killed at least nine people in Nimbo community, Enugu state, leaving another nine injured, in what was referred to as a “barbaric slaughter”.
The herdsmen have been also reported to have attacked Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti in theft raids rather bloody ones as seen in Enugu and Benue.
BUHARI’S INTERVENTION: TOO LATE?
As national outcry against the herdsmen grew louder, President Muhammadu Buhari, at the book launch of Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, said he had ordered the military to take action.
“I deeply sympathise with all those who lost dear ones, as well as those who lost their properties, in the attack,” Lai Mohammed, minister of information said on behalf of the president.
“I have directed the chief of defence staff and the inspector-general of police to secure all communities under attacks by herdsmen, and to go after all the groups terrorizing innocent people all over the country. This government will not allow these attacks to continue.”
Nigerians believe that if the herdsman are not curbed, cattle may worth more than human life in the days to come.