Middle Belt Raises Alert over Renewed Killings

Middle Belt
Vigilantes survey the damage in the village of Bakin Kogi, in Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria, that was recently attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen, on February 24, 2017. Long-standing tensions between herdsmen and farmers have flared up again in Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, leaving possibly hundreds dead in tit-for-tat violence. Last weekend at least 21 people were killed and several homes were destroyed when suspected cattle drivers attacked five farming communities.But the clashes between the Muslim, largely Hausa-speaking Fulani cattle drivers and the mainly Christian farmers have escalated since December, when a Fulani chief was killed. / AFP PHOTO / STEFAN HEUNIS

The leadership of Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has raised an alarm over fresh killings in the region, said it agreed with the report of Amnesty International, AI, on the unrestrained mass killings in the Middle Belt. National President of MBF, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, commended the Amnesty International for condemning the Nigerian military for its inactivity that has promoted these massacres and also allegedly covered-up the renewed killings in the Middle Belt.

Bitrus said: “The attention of the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has again been drawn to the new wave of killings in Nigeria, especially in the Middle Belt region. The Amnesty International had in November 2018 condemned the Nigerian military for not doing enough in combating the unprecedented killings arising from herdsmen/farmers’ crises that have claimed no less than 1,800 lives. These bloodbaths seem to be a tip of an iceberg as media report in December 2018, put the total number of deaths across the country at 5,113 lives within 11 months of last year.

He said, “Considering the escalation of killings in the Middle Belt region, which has largely been unreported by a large segment of the media, the MBF is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the federal and state governments are turning a blind eye to these ethnic killings in order to promote ambitions of some top politicians opposed to the interest of the Middle Belt people. It is on this basis that the MBF condemns government’s insensitivity to the ongoing bloodshed that has turned the Middle Belt region into a silent mass grave and denied victims of these attacks funds and international support for rebuilding their lives. It is tragic that Nigeria is witnessing some of her worst times in terms of insecurity under the present administration. The current resurgence of Boko Haram’s activities in the North-east and the ongoing displacement of Middle Belt people reflect the determination of these terrorists to unleash bloodshed on the people of the Middle Belt region.

He said, “The MBF categorically identified with the report of the Amnesty International on the unrestrained mass killings in the Middle Belt region perpetrated under the watch of the Nigerian military. The MBF commend the Amnesty International for carpeting the military over its deliberate refusal to arrest the perpetrator of these killings.”

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