SHOCKER: ‘Nigerian Army Supplying Weapons That Fulani Herdsmen Use In Killing Christians’

SHOCKER: ‘Nigerian Army Supplying Weapons That Fulani Herdsmen Use In Killing Christians’

By Wires | The Trent on February 4, 2017
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army officers new university Human Rights Fani-Kayode coup Fulani Herdsmen Tukur Buratai Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari (l) decorating the chief of Army staff, Major General Tukur Buratai with his new rank of Lieutenant General in the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock on Thursday, August 13, 2015 | NAN

A few days before any attack, a military helicopter is spotted dropping arms and other supplies into the areas inhabited by the Fulani tribes. Then the attack comes. For reasons of Islamic doctrine, the militia often deliver a letter of warning. Then they come, at any time of night or day, not down the dirt tracks, but silently through the foliage. The Christian villagers, who are forbidden to carry arms (everyone is, in theory), have no way to defend themselves. With some exceptions, they also tend to believe what they were taught about turning the other cheek.

Another day in northern Nigeria, another Christian village reeling from an attack by the Muslim Fulani herdsmen who used to be their neighbours — and who are now cleansing them from the area. The locals daren’t collect the freshest bodies. Some who tried earlier have already been killed, spotted by the waiting militia and hacked down or shot. The Fulani are watching everything closely from the surrounding mountains. Every week, their progress across the northern states of Plateau and Kaduna continues. Every week, more massacres — another village burned, its church razed, its inhabitants slaughtered, raped or chased away. A young woman, whose husband and two children have just been killed in front of her, tells me blankly, ‘Our parents told us about these people. But we lived in relative peace and we forgot what they said.’

For the outside world, what is happening to the Christians of northern Nigeria is both beyond our imagination and beneath our interest. These tribal-led villages, each with their own ‘paramount ruler’, were converted by missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries. But now these Christians — from the bishop down — sense that they have become unsympathetic figures, perhaps even an embarrassment, to the West. The international community pretends that this situation is a tit-for-tat problem, rather than a one-sided slaughter. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the press fails to report or actively obscures the situation. Christians in the south of the country feel little solidarity with their co-religionists suffering from this Islamic revivalism and territorial conquest in the north. And worst of all, the plight of these people is of no interest to their own government. In fact, this ethnic and religious cleansing appears to be taking place with that government’s complicity or connivance.

Every village has a similar story. A few days before any attack, a military helicopter is spotted dropping arms and other supplies into the areas inhabited by the Fulani tribes. Then the attack comes. For reasons of Islamic doctrine, the militia often deliver a letter of warning. Then they come, at any time of night or day, not down the dirt tracks, but silently through the foliage. The Christian villagers, who are forbidden to carry arms (everyone is, in theory), have no way to defend themselves. With some exceptions, they also tend to believe what they were taught about turning the other cheek.

The village of Goska was attacked on Christmas Eve. In a temporary shelter nearby, a young man describes how he ran towards his home when he heard the attack start. There he found his mother lying dead on the floor. Uniformed Fulani militia were everywhere. He fled across the fields: ‘I ran and ran until I realised my feet could not carry me any longer.’ The first bullet that hit him passed through the sole of one foot; the second through the back of the other leg with that clean felt-tip mark Kalashnikov bullets make on entry. The exit wounds are less neat —the second exploded out through his right kneecap. On the ground, he realised why he could no longer run, but also that he was still alive. ‘My day was not over,’ he says, brushing his hand across his better leg.

Across the surviving Christian villages of the north, thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. In those villages and the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps to which many have fled, you can see the same wounds from the same bullets. In the remote village of Sho, where the attacks have been going on since 2001, a girl of 12 — in her Sunday best — embarrassedly shows me the scars of the bullet which entered and exited her elbow recently while she played behind her house.

An eight-year-old girl balances on one foot to point out the bullet wound on the other, a hallmark of the snipers sitting in the hills around us. Villages have been persuaded to keep records of the attacks to show anyone who cares. One of the very few from outside who does — Britain’s own Baroness Cox — came here recently. Her vehicle was spotted by the Fulani, who came out hunting for her and only just missed their target. Because of attacks like this, almost nobody comes. Just one more reason why these atrocities do not attract the West’s attentions.

The task of chronicling the outrages continues nonetheless. Village leaders keep ring-binders of their dead. Some have photo-graph albums of what their villages have been through: old women set alight; young women raped and shot; babies hacked to death.

The Nigerian government, led by a Fulani president — Muhammadu Buhari — clearly does not wish to protect these people. Even more than under Buhari’s incompetent Christian predecessor, the army fails to perform its most basic duties. As you get into the more dangerous and remote areas, sullen young soldiers at army road blocks hustle you for cash at gunpoint.

A villager takes me to the bridge where the village leader and 13 others were recently gunned down in a Fulani ambush. Nigerian army troops watched the whole thing from their base a couple of hundred yards away — just as they did the destruction of another Christian village, the remains of which sit, burned out and silent, right opposite them. The army seems to have no interest in protecting the Christians, while the government in Abuja appears to care more about passing new laws on cattle-rustling than on protecting human lives. When challenged after a massacre, soldiers often claim that they didn’t receive any orders — or had been commanded not to intervene.

In a line that’s parroted by some NGOs, the government says that this is a land or agricultural dispute. Yet it is the Christian communities who are being systematically forced off it. If anybody wanted to find the culprits, they could find them living and farming on the land they have stolen. But such arrests never happen. The complicity between the army and the Fulani is obvious. Between Barakin-Ladi and Riyom — in sight of another army post — is a sacked Christian village which locals say now acts as a Fulani arms dump. The world’s indifference gives the Nigerian government the advantage in what looks like a quiet effort to rid northern Nigeria of its Christians.

The moment three years ago when Boko Haram abducted 300 Christian schoolgirls from the north-east and ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ briefly trended on Twitter was the closest this situation has come to catching the world’s attention. But the moment passed. Those girls are still missing and the story of Boko Haram has receded from the headlines. But similar atrocities go on all the time. At an IDP camp Deborah, 31, describes the 18 months she spent held captive by the group. When they burst into her village, the Islamists killed her husband and the rest of her family, forcibly converted her and ‘married’ her off to one of their 20-year-old fighters. He complained about her bad temper and argumentativeness, but he still raped her, producing the nine-month-old boy now suckling at her breast. A Christian pastor has urged her to love and cherish the boy as though he was her murdered husband.

The first time she escaped from Boko Haram, she was recaptured and lashed 80 times as punishment. At least she is now unafraid of death. ‘What sort of death would I be running from?’ she asks. ‘I have already died once.’ At night, she says, a military plane would sometimes appear over Boko Haram’s camp and drop off supplies. ‘Look what powerful friends we have,’ her husband would boast as he pointed to the lights in the sky above. Even if the Nigerian army does not support Boko Haram, elements of it certainly do. Whenever an actual operation against the group is planned, they are always tipped off by forces within the country’s security apparatus.

Nigerians have their own view as to what is really going on: a suspicion fuelled again as I leave one IDP camp at sunset and news comes in that another camp to the east has just been bombed by the Nigerian military, killing and maiming scores of people.

The army later apologises for this ‘error’.But the bigger picture is not about error. If the international community meant anything by its promises such as the UN’s ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine, then what is happening could not go on. But the international community is uninterested. Governments like ours are uninterested. The world’s media is uninterested.

At morning service in the city of Jos, the congregation sing and pray using the 19th-century hymnals and prayer books by which their faith was delivered. When we reach the plea to ‘Deliver us from the hands of our enemies’, the closely packed room hums with the literalness of the words. The Christians of Nigeria are alone. Even if we do not care about this, we ought to know.

This article originally appeared on The Spectator, UK.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Nig we trust grp wishes to alert our fellow citizens on a write up cooked up by an online media purportedly reported by a UK based media that our Military were dropping weapns to herdsmen …This to say the least is callous and unimaginable lies coming fm an ignorant person who knows nothing about their security operations. Our military are professionals and they are all over this nation to protect us, this can attested to by its composition and deployments.

    The writer succeeded in exposing his lack of judgement and knowledge about NAF. The writer failed severally to discredit our men in uniform, but now change antics of using religion to weep up sentiments…Nigerians are not fools like ur type…check their operations across the country ..they are all over the place to bring peace not to side or aid any party in conflict. U should join hands with our security men to end the crises not to turn the hand of the clock backward using sentiments as u wanted us to believe.

    Nations developed without putting such sentiments in their agenda. U are an agent of evil and destruction and enemy to our prosperity …cos u don’t want us to enjoy peace so that ur weapons can continue to get market and enrich ur nation, give employment to ur citizens and better ur society with all good things of live. Social media is a platform for fostering friendship and exchange of good ideas a Cross the globe. It is not to be used to achieve ur devilish intention thru reckless and inciting writeup such as this.

    We will urge our military to remain focus and not allow this and similar destructive element to carry on with the good job they are doing to us as we are proud of them. We are calling on our respected citizens to disregard this write up that has no iota of source and truth. Ur end is near as u hav failed ur mission of creating hatred, divisive message. In fact u are the only eyed man in Nigeria as u are the only one that sited the aircraft now; this indicates how shallow and narrowly minded the writer is….who does not know the elementary history ….the only thing the author knows is how to add to the crises and God will shame u as it Wll soon end with commanders like Gen OLONISAKIN, Buratai to mention a few.

    Just yesterday buratai laid a foundation ceremony for a barrack to accommodate the 2 battalion approved for southern Kaduna in order to protect lives. Such people are enemies of this our country and there fore be discountenanced and ignored.

    Let’s continue to support our Military and other security agencies . The Nig Military is for all Nigerians rgd less of religious tribal and wll continue to play such national and patriotic roles, mindless of this dangerous and empty writeup whose aim is to plant of haterate and incite our citizens with our mil.

    We know them,,,,,,,,,, they are enemies of progress, and stay away from them.

  2. @Anonymous

    After reading the supposedly article I come to wonder why you ran hysteric about it with your write up above. There is nothing in this article that is not known before, so why are you panicking. If the article is just spreading falsehood as you claimed, I see no reason why such baseless falsehood should attract your attention or that of your supposedly professional military.

    But when you talk of inciting the Citizens, which supposedly this article is meant to achieve according to your statement above, then I would like to draw your attention to this particular inciting statement from your todays commander in chief of the Nigerian Armed forces Mohammadu Buhari, which his Fulani Herdsmen militia reported in this article are carrying out for him today in disguise, but now with the clear intention of killing the citizens of the Nigerian Enclave to occupy their land as the Sahara keeps advancing following the effects of the climate change, thus displacing his cronies of the larger Fulani nation spread from Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea, Mali etc. Perhaps the only addition not captured in this article.

    “God willing, by 2015, something will happen. They either conduct a free and fair election or
    they go a very disgraceful way. “If what happened in 2011 (alleged rigging) should again
    happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon (Citizens of the Nigerian Enclave)
    would all be soaked in blood.’’

    Mohammadu Buhari

    Now I should ask you, which statement in this article is more inciting that this?

    Thanks

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