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UN investigator describes violence against Nigerian Christians as a 'pressure cooker of injustice'

by Cara Bentley

Agnes Callamard from the UN investigated misdemeanors particularly in the North East, Middle Belt and South of the country, noting "the ethno-religious dimensions of the conflict and the many toxic rhetoric that seek to explains and justify the killings."

Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi (pictured), the head of the Diocese of Jos, has also written in his book: "Nigeria is being described as the largest killing ground for Christians in the world today. First Boko Haram and now Fulani militants. The plan we see being executed is to wipe Christianity from the face of northern Nigeria."
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says that in Kaduna state more than 500 Christians have been abducted in the past four years.

"Pastors and church members are being kidnapped, huge sums of money are being demanded, and nothing has been done by the Nigerian government to halt the situation," Kaduna state CAN Chairman Joseph Hayap told the Christian Post.
In late August, Fulani herdsmen killed a Pentecostal pastor and abducted a Baptist pastor in Kaduna.

Fulani herdsmen also killed five Christians and destroyed homes in the district of Kiri.
Since 2011, an estimated 11,000 people have been killed in conflict featuring Fulani militia. The death toll is said to be six times higher than that caused by Boko Haram terrorists.
This growing conflict is often characterised in the West as between Fulani herdsmen, seeking fresh grazing land because of climate change, and predominantly Christian farmers.
This simplistic picture of farmer/herder conflict has emerged due to long-standing rivalry between settlers and herdsmen but religious freedom charity Release International says that alongside this there is growing evidence of a heavily-armed Fulani militia, sometimes in army uniforms, attacking Christian villages, slaughtering the inhabitants, driving them out and taking over their lands.
In a debate in the House of Lords, Baroness Cox observed: "There has been a very disturbing change in the behaviour of the Fulani herdsmen. In the last two to three years they have adopted a new policy: attacking Christian villages, killing local people, destroying homes, driving villagers off their lands and settling in their place.
"There are concerns that the Fulani militants are now so well armed that they are possibly fighting a proxy war for Boko Haram, with the shared agenda of driving Christians out of their homelands in northern and central-belt Nigeria."
Release International CEO Paul Robinson said: "We ignore the Islamist agenda in Nigeria at our peril. Boko Haram's stated aim is to take over the country for Islam. Fulani militants are playing into that same agenda. Meanwhile, Christians in the north are being killed and driven out in their thousands.
"It would be a grave mistake to simplistically describe this onslaught as merely farmer/herder clashes. The violence is serving an Islamist agenda. We must wake up to the assault on Christians in Nigeria."

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