Nigeria: Fulani Used as Proxies for Islamic Jihad


Date:  November 8, 2017


by Elizabeth Kendal

In the early hours of Monday 16 October, ethnic Fulani Muslim cattle herders 
dressed in military fatigues stormed the mostly Christian, ethnic Irigwe 
village of Nkyie Doghwro in Bassa Local Government Area (LGA), Plateau State. 
Knowing that an attack was imminent, the villagers had requested extra 
security from the Special Task Force soldiers in the nearby base. The 
soldiers disarmed the residents and gathered them into in a schoolroom where 
they were to sleep under the protection of military personnel from Operation 
Safe Haven. However, when the Fulani invaded, the soldiers withdrew, leaving 
the residents defenceless. Christians have accused the military of complicity 
in the massacre which claimed 29 lives and emptied the village. The military 
denies this, claiming the soldiers were simply overpowered (an equally 
disturbing, though highly unlikely, proposition). 

The Muslim Fulani attack at night. They kill and displace the mostly 
Christian indigenous residents and emptied villages are subsequently occupied 
by Fulani Muslim settlers from the north. During the first two weeks of 
October, Christian villages in Plateau were attacked on an almost daily 
basis. [See recent reports from Christian Solidarity Worldwide, World Watch 
Monitor and Morning Star News]. In Bassa LGA alone, over the course of five 
weeks, numerous attacks targeting two indigenous Irigwe communities, left 72 
villagers dead, 23 injured, 489 houses burnt and 13,726 mostly Christian 
Irigwe displaced out of a population of 80,000. The attacks continued despite 
a government imposed curfew. On 19 October the Nigerian Air Force announced 
it had deployed troops, fighter aircraft and attack helicopters to Jos, 
Plateau State, to join the military efforts in curtailing the violence, in 
particular to 'prevent reprisals from the natives'.   

In the face of escalating violence in Plateau, a coalition of 25 ethnic 
nationalities has given the Plateau State House of Assembly two weeks to 
initiate a bill against open grazing and six months for it to be passed into 
law. Such a law would mandate that cattle be raised in ranches and banned 
from grazing on the gardens and crops of indigenes. Other states with 
Anti-Open Grazing laws are Benue in the south (law enacted 1 November) and 
Tarbaba in the east (law to be enacted in January 2018), both in the Middle 
Belt. Whilst Anti-Open Grazing laws could go a long way towards curtailing 
the crisis, Fulani violence is about more than feeding livestock.  

While the Bible mandates Christians spread the Good News that God reconciles 
sinners to himself through Jesus Christ, Islam mandates Muslims expand the 
territory under Allah's rule (i.e., under Islamic Sharia Law - a political 
mandate). Forced out by the ever-encroaching desert, the traditionally 
nomadic Fulani cattle herders migrate south in search of food and water for 
their livestock. These Fulani are then exploited by jihadists and other 
Islamists - including those in the military and in the government - who use 
them as proxies in an Islamic jihad to expand Muslim territory at the expense 
of Christians. This is why they routinely attack with high-powered automatic 
weapons, wear bullet-proof vests and military fatigues. It is also why they 
are virtually never caught and never brought to book. Many suspect they also 
are supported by Islamists at the highest levels of government. Banning open 
grazing would actually eliminate one of the Islamisation strategies.  

Whilst the most recent violence has occurred in Plateau, Fulani expansion is 
certainly not limited to Plateau. Speaking at a forum on 30 October, former 
head of state General Abdulsalami Abubakar released some grim statistics. In 
2016, Fulani cattle herders killed 2,500 and displaced 62,000 mostly 
Christian indigenes in Plateau, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Benue alone. Human 
rights advocates and Christian leaders have criticised President Muhammadu 
Buhari (a Fulani Muslim from the north) for his silence over the crisis. They 
also question why, on 16 October, the United Nations rewarded the Buhari 
government by re-electing it to the UN Human Rights Council.  


* richly bless all Christian evangelistic ministry to Fulani Muslims, pouring 
out the Holy Spirit in abundance and with great power. '... they will do 
these things [i.e. persecute you] because they have not known the Father, nor 
me.' (John 16:1-4a ESV)  

* bless and protect all Fulani Christian converts committed to evangelising 
their own people, not only in the interests of the Fulani, but also in the 
interests of peace. As converts, their lives are gravely imperilled. May the 
Lord guide them, bless them and be their shield. 'But you, O Lord, are a 
shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.' (Psalm 3:3 ESV)  

* bless and supply the Bible Colleges that are training Fulani converts and 
other evangelists to work amongst Nigeria's Muslims. Fulani are coming to 
faith in Christ! May the Lord continue to build his Church in Northern 

* intervene in Nigeria's political processes to enable the progress of 
Anti-Open Grazing laws where they are needed; may he also enable the 
traditionally nomadic Fulani to embrace the concept of ranches and remove all 
obstacles to their establishment. 'With man this is impossible, but with God 
all things are possible.' (Matthew 19:26)  

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