Fulani Muslim herdsmen killed at least 82 people and injured several more in an attack on 15 March against a mainly Christian village in Agatu, in Nigeria’s central Benue state. Storming the village at around 4 a.m., herdsmen killed anyone in their path and murdered scores of villagers as they slept in their beds.
“The search for victims and survivors is still ongoing,” said a local resident, “but there is no doubt that the figure may rise because the entire village is like a killing field with the stench of blood everywhere and many still missing”.
The attackers are thought to be from Loko in neighbouring Nasarawa state. After attacking residents and breaking into their homes, the Fulani herdsmen razed the village to the ground, destroying trees, food barns and farmland.
Residents in the village are of the predominantly Christian Egba ethnic group. Ethnic Fulani Muslims frequently attack Christian villages across Nigeria, killing residents and burning churches. Christians in north-eastern Nigeria also suffer attacks from the Islamist insurgency group Boko Haram, which focuses in particular on Christians, Western-style educational institutions and security/political targets.
The day before the attack against the Egba Christians, police uncovered two homemade bombs in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri. The bombs had been placed in Yerwa primary school, which had been converted into a camp for Nigerians who had been internally displaced as a result of Boko Haram violence in the region. Police managed to detonate the bombs safely without causing injury to anyone.