86 Killed in Clashes Between Muslim Fulani Herdsmen & Christian Farmers

At least 86 people were killed June 23 in Nigeria’s Plateau State in clashes reportedly between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Christian farmers, Plateau police said.

Six others were injured and 50 homes were destroyed, Plateau Police Commissioner Undie Adie confirmed the following day, although it was not clear how many of the dead were farmers. The weekend violence capped three days of attacks on Christian farmers in Plateau villages, police told the Guardian, and is the latest in an ages-old feud for land rights.

Hundreds of miles south in Oyo State, Fulani herdsmen continue to occupy land they’ve taken from farmers in at least 10 government areas, Southern Baptist Nigerian advocate Adeniyi Ojutiku told Baptist Press. Nomadic herdsmen have taken land by various means, Ojutiku said, either posing as settlers, attacking and terrorizing native landowners, initiating faulty land deals, or attacking farmers who refuse to accept purchase offers.

‘Following the forceful and insidious land grab, the Fulani become mixed settlers of farmers and herders, growing staple food commodities for market and grazing surrounding lands,’ said Ojutiku, who operates the Lift Up Now grassroots outreach to Nigeria from Raleigh, N.C.

‘The Fulani send in their cattle to graze the farms of non-Fulani that stubbornly refuse to vacate their land,’ he said, ‘in order to frustrate their farming operations and detach them from their means of livelihood.’ Fulani typically rape women displaced and widowed by the violence, Ojutiku said.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, himself an ethnic Fulani, has been accused of neglecting to address the violence. After the Plateau attacks, Buhari urged villagers to be calm, promised justice and said he would work to prevent further violence, CNN reported.

Local governments are enforcing curfews from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to encourage peace, according to news reports.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press