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Fulani Militants surpasses Boko Haram in attacks against Christians

(Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)People react as a truck carries the coffins of people killed by the Fulani herdsmen, in Makurdi, Nigeria January 11, 2018.

Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria's Middle Belt have surpassed Boko Haram this month in the number of attacks carried out against Christians.

According to International Christian Concern, the group has carried out 27 attacks in Nigeria in the past months, with the heaviest assaults occurring in Plateau and Taraba states.

At least 225 Christians have died and thousands have been displaced from their homes as a result of the deadly raids.

ICC noted that out of 27 raids, the militants were only engaged in battle with those attacked six times. Despite the increasing attacks, the Nigerian government has made no attempts to disarm the militants.

In contrast, Boko Haram had killed 37 people during the same period, with many of the victims being military personnel.

ICC asserted that the victims of Fulani militants were unarmed and defenseless in 75 percent of the cases.

The watchdog group has lamented that the attacks by Fulani militants are not receiving as much media attention as those by Boko Haram and other terror groups.

"There are several reasons that the West doesn't say much about Fulani-led violence. First is that they already spend a lot of time and effort covering the Boko Haram situation. This is a far more attractive discussion to the West because it has the terrorist designation tied to it. The Fulani have not been designated as such since 2014 when the designation was assigned and then quickly taken away," ICC Regional Manager Nathan Johnson told The Christian Post.

Johnson argued that many people in the West believe that the attacks were manifestations of a socioeconomic conflict between the Fulani militants and other farmers. He further noted that the Nigerian government has been unwilling to speak about the attacks.

"They do not want to bring attention to this problem as it would attract more negative media aimed at their government. All of these factors combined lead to silence among most Western media outlets," he went on to say.

ICC asserted that the violence stems from the Fulani's religious animosity toward Christianity as most of the raids targeted Christian villages. He pointed out that in most of the attacks that took place over the past decade, the militants destroyed churches and pastoral homes.

Johnson suggested that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has hesitant to denounce the Fulani attacks because he himself comes from a Muslim Fulani background and the country is split almost evenly between its Muslim and Christian population.

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