WASHINGTON, DC — Muslim Fulani herdsmen represent the top terrorist threat facing Christians in Nigeria, an influential bishop based in the African country told Breitbart News Wednesday, echoing other analysts.
After an event on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Save the Persecuted Christians campaign, a national coalition working to raise grassroots awareness in America about the mistreatment of Christians, Dr. Benjamin Argak Kwashi, the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jos and archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Jos in the Church of Nigeria, told Breitbart News: “The government is able to provide protection [to the Christians], but what’s obvious to everybody is that the government is unwilling.”
“The Fulani herdsmen are a bigger threat,” Kwashi added. “Boko Haram operates in the northeast and scantily moves into other areas, but the Fulani herdsmen are widespread. They’re everywhere now. So the Fulani are a bigger threat.”
In July, Breitbart News spoke to various analysts and experts who believe Muslim terrorists from the Fulani herdsmen group and Boko Haram are competing for the title of the most deadly terrorist group in Nigeria.
The latest Global Terrorism Index released by the Institute for Economics and Peace think-tank early this month, revealed.
In Nigeria in 2018, there has been a dramatic increase in violence involving Fulani extremists even as deaths committed by Boko Haram are falling. … Terrorist activity in Nigeria is dominated by two groups: Boko Haram and Fulani extremists. In 2017, Boko Haram was the deadliest group in Nigeria, with both terrorism deaths and attacks increasing over the prior year. Deaths increased by 34 percent to 1,022 while attacks increased by 62 percent to 222.
The Fulani extremists were less active in 2017 than the prior year with terrorism deaths dropping by 60 percent to 321, and attacks dropping by 51 percent to 72. However, preliminary data for 2018 suggests that there has been a significant increase in violence committed by Fulani extremists. Together, Boko Haram and the Fulani extremists are responsible for 63 per cent of terror attacks and 88 per cent of terror-related deaths in Nigeria.
Although Boko Haram mainly carries out its attacks in Muslim-majority regions, the group is known to target Christians, though it has also sent child suicide bombers to attack Shiite mosques and populated marketplaces of mixed religious populations. Meanwhile, Fulani terrorists primarily go after followers of Christ.
According to Open Door’s latest annual World Watch List, Nigeria is among the top 15 worst countries for Christian persecution.
“Islam is the dominant religion in the north of Nigeria, while Christianity is dominant in the south,” the report notes. “Radical groups, such as Boko Haram and Muslim Fulani herdsmen, violently persecute believers in the northern and Middle Belt regions.”
In 2018, clashes between Muslim Fulani herders and Christian-majority farmers from the Berom ethnic group in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, intensified, prompting the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to accuse the Muslim group of committing genocide.
This year, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), the top pro-Fulani group in Nigeria, justified the heinous atrocities against mainly Christian farmers, calling the attacks “retaliatory” and equating the life of a human being to that of a cow, the pro-Christain World Watch Monitor (WWM) noted.
Fulani herdsmen often accuse the Christian farmers of stealing their cattle. Echoing other analysts, CAN blasted the Fulani rhetoric painting the fatalities as “revenge killings” over the theft of cattle.
Critics have accused Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who reportedly shares his ethnicity with the Fulani, of downplaying and even condoning the attacks by the Muslim group.
Some Christian leaders and experts urge followers of Christ to rise and defend themselves against the Fulani threat.
At the Capitol Hill event Wednesday, Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS) joined other concerned citizens, including Frank Gaffney, a founding member of the Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition, and former Republican Congressman from Virginia Frank Wolf to urge U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to appoint a special envoy to the Nigerian region to help protect Christians who are being murdered, kidnapped and attacked in what many describe as “pure genocide.”
According to the CIA World Factbook, about 52 percent of the Nigerian population is Muslim and 47 percent Christian.