Hundreds of Christians killed in Nigeria as Fulani violence spikes

Hundreds of Christians were killed last month in a spike in Fulani violence in Nigeria. The militant group have now overtaken Boko Haram as the biggest threat in the country's Middle Belt region, a new report says.

March saw 27 attacks by Fulani herdsmen, which led to the deaths of 225 Christians, thousands of families displaced from their homes and the prolific destruction of property, according to human rights organisation International Christian Concern (ICC). The heaviest losses occurred in Nigeria's Plateau State region, where 107 Christians were killed.

Members of a Christian family mourn three relatives who were killed by armed Fulani herdsmen in Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria.Reuters

ICC said that in more than 75 per cent of cases, the Fulani have attacked unarmed and defenceless civilians. In contrast, Boko Haram killed 37 people in the same period, many of whom were military personnel engaged in combat.

ICC has criticised the Nigerian government for a failure to keep the Fulani accountable. In a statement it said: 'This serious situation requires a serious response. Thus far in 2018, Fulani militants have killed more people than Boko Haram and affected a much larger area. Despite this, the federal government in Nigeria has paid little attention and allowed these militants to get away with mass murder.

'Even in areas where they have provided small amounts of security personnel, it has proven to be completely ineffective. We continue to call on the Nigerian government to reclaim the land that has been stolen by Fulani militants, rebuild the communities that have been destroyed, and protect Nigerian citizens from future attack.'

In March a Catholic cardinal and archbishop in Nigeria hit out at government corruption in the country in a letter to the nation's president. Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie described 'negligence, incompetence, greed and insecurity' amongst political elites while Nigerians die of hunger and suffer terrorist violence.