WARNING: Details in this article may be too graphic for some readers.

The northern half of Africa’s most populous country is at the mercy of religious extremists.

The latest Boko Haram violence claimed at least 50 victims in northeast Nigeria. Militants armed with guns and machetes attacked farmers preparing their crops for the rainy season.

“From March 20 of this year up to April 20, there were daily killings in northern Nigeria,” says Emmanuel Ogebe, an international human rights lawyer working alongside The Voice of the Martyrs Canada.

“Nigeria is caught in the vicious grip of what the Global Terrorism Index has called the world’s second and fourth-deadliest terror groups.”

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He’s referring to Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, but the Islamic State is also fighting for control in northern Nigeria. Earlier this month, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) released a video showing the beheading of 20 Nigerian Christians.

The Nigerian government is mainly ineffective, especially when protecting faith communities. “The government has no real incentive or interest in protecting Christians,” Ogebe says.

“General Buhari is from the Fulani tribe. He has said that he would have been a herdsman if he wasn’t in the military.”

The Fulani are not native to Nigeria, Ogebe says. “In the 1800s, they rode into Nigeria in jihad and conquered some of the existing Muslim groups. They could not defeat pagan tribes, and when the Brits came, those pagan areas became Christian,” he explains.

“So, the jihadi Fulani still think that they have a right to Islamize the rest of the country.”

No mercy

Aid agencies and heads of state appropriately describe Islamic State and Boko Haram terrorists as merciless. Fulani herdsmen add a new layer of cruelty.

“In Benue State, they saw a Christian woman on her farm, and they attacked her. She was pregnant; they ripped open her womb, pulled out the fetus, and used a machete to [kill] the child,” Ogebe says.

“Boko Haram will give you an option to convert to Islam and renounce Christ. The Fulani herdsmen do [these types of killings] intentionally because they want to horrify people,” he continues.

“They’re making a statement: ‘this is how evil we are; we will destroy anyone and anything in our path.’”

May the Fulani and other perpetrators responsible for violent attacks realize God’s tremendous love for them and His desire to extend mercy and saving grace.

Ask the Lord to protect His followers throughout Nigeria. The Fulani say they’re planning to take over the country.


This story originally appeared at Mission Network News and is republished here with permission.