The ECWA president notes that many of the villages where these killings and burnings are taking place, are located behind the 3rd Armoured Division Barrack of the Nigerian Army.
Even then, the militants are allowed to continue their heinous murders and carnage without any intervention by the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, a situation that the Church leader says is eroding the confidence of the populace in the military and security agencies that are supposed to act as unbiased protectors of all, devoid of tribe, ethnicity or religion.
“No single AK-47 wielding militia has been arrested, prosecuted or brought to justice,” Mr. Panya says, adding, “Instead, the indigenous youth who tried to defend themselves with crude instruments are paraded as aggressors.”
According to the CSW leadership, deadly attacks by Fulani assailants are now occurring increasingly in the South of the country, amidst consistent reports of abductions for ransom, murders, displacements and destruction and occupation of farmlands.
On August 1, at least nine people were killed in the Isi-Uzo LGA of Nigeria’s Enugu State, including a pregnant woman whose fetus was reportedly removed and left on top of her corpse.
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Local people claim that the police, who arrived 24 hours after the attack, were refusing to release the bodies of victims of an earlier attack for burial until the local community signs an undertaking to allocate land to Fulani herders.
In a message of solidarity with those experiencing persecution in Nigeria’s Northern region, CSW’s Press and Public Affairs Team Leader has gone ahead to condemn attacks by the Fulani herdsmen, which he says are strategically staged during the harvesting seasons to destroy the Christian farmers’ sources of livelihood.
“We extend our deepest condolences to communities in Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Enugu and other States where these attacks continue to occur with apparent impunity,” Mr. Kankhwende says, and adds, “Indigenous ethno-religious minorities are being targeted in a relentless campaign of violence, which involves decimation, displacement, and demographic alteration, and which accelerates during farming or harvesting seasons, indicating a deliberate effort to engineer starvation and complete economic disempowerment.”
The CSW official opines that it is time for the international community to put aside debates about the origins and nature of the Nigerian violence and to focus instead on pressing and assisting Nigeria to address the network of organized armed non-state actors.
He describes Nigeria’s situation as “a tragic indication of failing or failed governance” in which groups with ready access to small arms can continue to unleash the most appalling violence across the country.
It is the minority ethnic and religious groups bearing “an alarming burden of death and loss” in the violence, Mr. Kankhwende says.