Violence in Nigeria that has claimed the lives of hundreds of Christians is being blamed on tensions over land ownership, but a large amount of religious strife and Jihad-ism appears inevitably mixed in.
More than 1,000 Christians were murdered in the country this year, a report claims, and it blames Boko Haram jihadists along with a surge of violence between Muslim herders and Christian planters.
The Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) says the nomadic Fulani group has been preying on Christian farmers with an “aggressive and strategic land-grabbing policy” under the slogan: “Your land or your blood.”
“In every village, the message from local people is the same: Please, please help us! The Fulani are coming. We are not safe in our own homes,” said HART founder Baroness Cox.
The violence has ratcheted up in recent years until it “has taken on dangerous religious and ethnic dimensions” in addition to existing tensions over land and water, experts say.
The HART report, seen by the Christian Post, said more than 1,000 Christians had died since January 2019 and more than 6,000 in the last four years.
“Islamist Fulani militia continue to engage in an aggressive and strategic land grabbing policy” in much of Nigeria, the report says.
Baroness Cox said she had “visited many of the affected areas and seen the tragedies of death and destruction.” The conflict between Fulani and sedentary farmers has erupted in a fertile central region called the Middle Belt. Demand for water and access to land, driven in part by a surging population in a country of 200 million, are among the contemporary causes for the fighting. But the Middle Belt also lies in Nigeria’s religious fault line, between the Muslim north and Christian south