On the eve of Nigeria President Buhari’s meeting with President Trump in Washington 19 Christians have been murdered by Fulani herdsmen in another shocking attack.
Two priests and 17 worshippers were killed when armed Fulani men stormed a Catholic church during morning mass in a remote village in Benue State on Tuesday 24 April.
“The herdsmen burnt nearly 50 houses during the attack and sacked the entire community,” state police spokesperson, Terver Akase told CNN.
Open Doors field workers confirmed the attack and said the death toll is likely to rise as more bodies are discovered in the surrounding bush.
Open Doors’ Head of Advocacy, Zoe Smith said, “The violence perpetrated by militant elements of the Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria is chilling – in the last year, 50 Christian villages have been destroyed and thousands have been killed. As the leader of Nigeria and a Fulani himself, President Buhari is strategically placed to bring an end to this violence. Open Doors is joining with others around the world calling on President Trump to raise this as a matter of urgency with President Buhari in their conversations on Monday.”
The two world leaders are expected to discuss the promotion of economic growth, fighting terrorism, and building on Nigeria’s role as a democratic leader in the region.
Christians in Nigeria have asked Open Doors to reinforce the importance of raising the complex issue of Fulani herdsmen violence tearing through the Christian community. Specifically, Open Doors is asking President Buhari to take tangible steps to ensure that:
- All Nigerian citizens are protected equally regardless of their ethno-religious affiliation and protected when credible reports of impending attacks are received
- Investigations into the attacks are credible, transparent and impartial and bring attackers to justice
- International partnerships are strengthened to facilitate the training of law enforcement agencies, the monitoring and prevention of violence, and the impartial distribution of humanitarian aid.