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US agency wants Nigeria designated Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for “ongoing, systematic, and egregious religious freedom violations.”

  • Two Nigerian U.S. groups allege fresh attacks by Fulani herdsment

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Friday released a new report on religious tensions and Fulani communities in West and Central Africa.

In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S State Department designate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its “ongoing, systematic, and egregious religious freedom violations.”

 USCIRF also recommended that the State Department place the Central African Republic on its Special Watch List (SWL).

The West and Central Africa Factsheet released by the USCIRF also “explores the role that religion plays in escalating violence committed by and against Fulani communities in west and central Africa. Predominantly Muslim and historically associated with cattle herding and livestock rearing, Fulani communities – one of the largest ethnic groups in the world – stretch across the African continent from Senegal to Sudan and have been both the victims and perpetrators of violence against civilians in many countries in recent years.

“Although the extent to which religious ideology contributes to driving this violence remains a subject of debate, the trend of increasing violence by and against Fulani groups is clearly aggravating religious tensions in countries such as Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

This is just as two Nigerian-based groups on Friday reported fresh attacks by alleged Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The report was via the ICC Nigeria Genocide Bulletin under which the groups, Justice for Jos Project and the  US Nigeria Law Group, reports Fulani conflict beyond Nigeria biweekly.

The ICC Nigeria Genocide Bulletin is an outcrop of the groups’ meeting with the Office of the Prosecutor last month where they pledged to assist further in their protracted review of the situation in Nigeria.

According to the report, there has been “multiple  Fulani attacks in Benue, Kaduna and Plateau states and re-invasion of Ebonyi State. Also US government reports that Fulani conflicts extend beyond Nigeria to Central and West Africa. Terrorism in Northeast States and Cameroun border continues.”

In a letter by its coordinator and signed by Mr Emmanuel Ogebe, they characterized the violence in the Northcentral region of the country as “continuing mid-grade genocide” which the ICC should consider to for investigations as it is the international courts jurisdiction.”

It then listed the md-grade genocide to include the following:

In Benue State, the group noted that on Monday 20th September, 2020, some suspected Fulani Herdsmen attacked Apela Village close to Agasha in Guma LGA of Benue State at about 5am and killed the following people: 1.Achikagudu Shimagba 2.Joseph Nyila 3.Dooshima Nyila (Female)

On September 28th, “suspected Herdsmen yesterday invaded a Community close to Ute in Guma LGA of Benue State at about 6 pm and killed 2 persons. One of them is Kwaghaondo who left a one month old baby. The other person is yet to be identified.”

Also, in Kaduna State, “Kaura LGA.caretaker committee chairman has been kidnapped in mararaba Rido on his way to his farm, killing the okada (Biker) man at the spot, more details later as they unfold”

On Thursday, “violent Fulani Muslims kidnapped the daughter and killed the father at kudansa community last night. 1/10/2020 they killed a father, Rev Yohanna Abashiya of Ebenizer Baptist  Church Aguyie Kudansa at Maraban Rido Kaduna and took the daughter.”

The group also cited various Press Statements by the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union in which it noted  that on “early this morning, (11th September, 2020)  Manyi-Mashin village, in  Zamandabo ward, in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) in Southern Kaduna, was invaded by hordes of  Fulani armed men  who burnt down  almost all the houses in the village, looting and carting away valuables. Two persons were burnt in their homes beyond recognition: They are Cecilia Ishaya, 62, a widow and mother of 6 children and Iliya Sunday, 56, who left behind 8 children. Though men of Operation Safe Heaven promptly responded, the militia fled before their arrival.

“This was after Fulani militia on the 8th September, 2020 lay ambush for three Atyap youths from Atakmawei village in same ,  Zamandabo Ward in Atyap Chiefdom,  as they went to clear weed in their Sugar cane farm about a kilometer from their village.

“Suddenly,  armed herdsmen came from  hiding and struck.  They descended on them with daggers and machetes. Anthony Magaji, 25,  a final year HND student with Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, was hacked down. They axed his neck and head with macabre wounds and killed him instantly. Isaac Thomas, 24, also an OND student of the same School, managed to escape with life threatening injuries and is now under intensive care in a hospital, while the third escaped with less injury.

“Meanwhile, we have received complains of  farmers in Gora axis of Atyap Chiefdom, who say that Fulani men occasional sneak into their farms destroy  large swath of  growing food crops, thus leaving them with a bleak prospect of hunger in the near future. All these gory development is taking place after a much publicized  peace deal was reached between natives of  Atyap Chiefdom on one side and their long time settled Hausa and Fulani representatives on 23rd August, 2020 in Unguwan Wakili, close to Zangon Kataf town.

“Similarly, on the 8th of September, 2020, an attack was launched again by Fulani militias at Kitsarapang village in Kizachi Chiwo of Kizachi community, Tsam Chiefdom in Kauru LGA in the Southern part of Kaduna state, Nigeria. The attack claimed the life of  Emmanuel David Yohanna, 13   leaving two persons grievously with gunshots. They are: Sunday Zango Stephen, 48 and Zakka John, 23. The two victims  are now  receiving treatment at a Hospital in Jos.

“Meanwhile, three decomposing corpses were found on Kaduna-Abuja highway on Sunday, 6th September, 2020. They were among four persons that were abducted during a brazen operation last week at Maraban Rido, a suburb of Kaduna under Chikun LGA all in Southern Kaduna. They were killed after ransom was paid for their released. Among them is Pius, Gargai, 20, and married with a child. He was a nephew of the 1st Vice President of SOKAPU, Mr. Dio Maisamari. The young man was buried last Wednesday in his native home Kufana, Kajuru LGA. The names of the other victims are yet to reach us.   

“These  bring to 8, the number of our members grisly killed by armed Fulani militia within five days in Southern Kaduna in an ongoing genocide against the natives of Southern Kaduna. SOKAPU wishes to once again request the Federal Government, through Operation Safe Heaven, under the Command of Major General Chukwu Emeka  Okonkwo, to expatiate action and expel and bring to book all the Fulani militia that are currently occupying 101 Southern Kaduna Communities in four of our LGAs. We have furnished the world with the details and we are happy to note, that eight of the displaced communities in Zangan District in Kaura LGA are now returning home as a result of more  presence of men of OPSH.

“We are appealing to our youths to shun all forms of provocation and conduct themselves in manners that will not make them fall short of the law, not compromising their rights for self-preservation under the law.

Other areas it made detailed reports include Plateau, Adamawa, Yobe and

Borno States.

The groups also said that dozens of security personnel were killed in three different ambush attacks on Borno State Governor.

In addition, the US groups said that October 1, 2020

USCIRF Releases New Report about Religious Tensions and Fulani Communities in West and Central Africa

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