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Re(4): Religiou /Race Fanaticism

Muslim militants killed 120 Christians in Nigeria during a three-week period in February and March 2019.

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What's True
Although not entirely reliable, various local news reports corroborated the incidents and deaths described in reports by Breitbart and the Christian Post website.
What's False
Religious affiliation is a secondary issue in the ongoing Nigerian herder-farmer conflict, which impartial experts consistently describe as being primarily a dispute over natural resources and land usage. Reports in the U.S. in March 2019 failed to properly explain the complexity of the conflict, and Breitbart's article did not mention a major reported atrocity perpetrated against the mostly Muslim Fula people in February 2019.
In the aftermath of the March 2019 Christchurch, New Zealand, massacre in which a white supremacist gunman fatally shot 50 people at two mosques, some right-leaning observers quickly turned their attention to atrocities allegedly perpetrated by Muslims against Christians in recent weeks.

On 16 March, Breitbart reported that “Nigerian Muslim militants” had killed 120 Christians within a space of three weeks since late February 2019. In another article published the next day, the same author wrote that “Political leaders and public figures were falling over themselves this weekend to condemn the mosque attacks in New Zealand, while dozens of Christians were slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria to the sound of crickets.”

That article cited a report from the website Christian Post, which in turn cited a 14 March press release posted by the U.K.-based charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide, which read: “At least 120 people have died since 9 February in a series of attacks by Fulani militia on communities in the Adara chiefdom of southern Kaduna. The violence comes in the wake of a statement by the Kaduna state governor on the eve of Nigeria’s presidential elections in February regarding an alleged massacre of Fulani villagers in the area.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide outlined the purported details of five recent attacks:

On 11 March, 52 people were killed and around 100 homes were destroyed in attacks on Inkirimi and Dogonnoma villages in Maro, Kajuru Local Government Area … The day before, on 10 March, Ungwan Barde village in Kajuru suffered an attack in which 17 people died and dozens of homes were burnt. On 26 February, 38 people were killed and around 40 homes were destroyed in attacks on the Karamai community in Maro, Kajuru. Ten people were killed in an earlier attack on Ungwan Barde on 10 February, including a pregnant woman. Prior to this, on 9 February, six people were killed in isolated attacks in the area.
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Although not entirely reliable, local news reports largely corroborate the incidents and deaths described by Breitbart and Christian Solidarity Worldwide. It is difficult to arrive at a definitive total number of persons killed, but the numbers claimed by Breitbart and Christian Solidarity Worldwide are certainly plausible and, unfortunately, in keeping with the ongoing farmer-herder conflict that has affected parts of Nigeria in recent years.

However, that conflict has a complex set of causes and motivations, and the Breitbart and Christian Post articles in March 2019 served readers poorly by focusing exclusively on the religious affiliations of the groups involved — something that impartial experts have presented as not being a central cause of the conflict — while failing to mention other, much more relevant factors.

Breitbart also markedly failed to mention in their article the single largest atrocity recorded during February and March 2019, one in which members of the mainly Christian Adara ethnic group were alleged to have killed 130 members of the mainly Muslim Fula ethnic group.


Since around 2017, longstanding and violent clashes have escalated between various groups of farmers in different parts of Nigeria and semi-nomadic cattle herders from the mostly Muslim Fula ethnic group (known collectively as Fulani).

In the summer of 2018, the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization that researches violent conflicts around the world, described the spiraling clashes as “Nigeria’s gravest security challenge,” offering this outline of the farmer-herder conflict:

In the first half of 2018, more than 1,300 Nigerians have died in violence involving herders and farmers. What were once spontaneous attacks have become premeditated scorched-earth campaigns in which marauders often take villages by surprise at night. Now claiming about six times more civilian lives than the Boko Haram insurgency, the conflict poses a grave threat to the country’s stability and unity…

The conflict is fundamentally a land-use contest between farmers and herders across the country’s Middle Belt. It has taken on dangerous religious and ethnic dimensions, however, because most of the herders are from the traditionally nomadic and Muslim Fulani who make up about 90 per cent of Nigeria’s pastoralists, while most of the farmers are Christians of various ethnicities.

… The conflict’s roots lie in climate-induced degradation of pasture and increasing violence in the country’s far north, which have forced herders south; the expansion of farms and settlements that swallow up grazing reserves and block traditional migration routes; and the damage to farmers’ crops wrought by herders’ indiscriminate grazing. But three immediate factors explain the 2018 escalation.

First is the rapid growth of ethnic militias, such as those of the Bachama and Fulani in Adamawa state, bearing illegally acquired weapons. Second is the failure of the federal government to prosecute past perpetrators or heed early warnings of impending attacks. Third is the introduction in November 2017 of anti-grazing laws vehemently opposed by herders in Benue and Taraba states, and the resultant exodus of herders and cattle, largely into neighbouring Nasarawa and, to a lesser degree, Adamawa, sparking clashes with farmers in those states.


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