By Jude Atemanke
At least 11 people, most of them Catholics, were killed Jan. 19 when alleged Fulani herdsmen attacked a village near a refugee camp in Nigeria’s Makurdi Diocese, a diocesan official has reported.
In an interview with ACI Africa, CNA’s sister news partner, Father Moses Aondover Iorapuu, the diocese’s vicar general, recounted the “horrifying” persecution that Catholics were subjected to during the attack.
“The images of the attack are horrifying, and I keep saying that not even ISIS is capable of such brutality,” he said. “After killing, these guys decapitated some and took the parts away as proof to whoever is the sponsor.”
Aondover said the attacks took place Thursday about 9 p.m. in a village near Makurdi, the Benue State capital, where there is a displaced persons camp.
“As of this evening 11 people were killed, including women and children, and many with life-threatening wounds in the hospital,” he reported.
“Almost all the victims” of the attack were Catholics, he said, adding: “The attackers, according to the survivors, were Fulani, who occupied some of the villages they had abandoned in earlier raids.”
Aondover criticized the delayed response from security agents, saying: “The response from the police and the military as always: normal late arrival at the scene, and the attackers remain unidentified.”
Nigeria has been experiencing insecurity since 2009 when Boko Haram’s insurgency began with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state.
Since then, the group, one of largest Islamist groups in Africa, has been orchestrating indiscriminate terrorist attacks on various targets, including religious and political groups as well as civilians.
The situation of insecurity in the West African nation has further been complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia, who have been clashing frequently with Christian farmers over grazing land.
The Jan. 19 attack on the village saw the inhabitants “forcefully driven from their homes by these herdsmen,” Aondover said, lamenting “the incessant attacks without a single arrest and meaningful reaction from the government.”
“We feel terribly frustrated and abandoned by our government and the international community,” he said.