“Do not make the same mistake that was made with the genocide in Rwanda. It was plain for everyone, but no one stopped him. And we know how that turned out. ”
This was the message of Gboko, Bishop William Amove Avenya of Gboka, a diocese in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need released June 26, 2018.
That prelate is yet another voice of a bishop of the Nigerian Middle Belt that rises to denounce an increasingly worrying phenomenon, that of attacks by Fulani herdsmen Islamists who in recent days have scored more attacks in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, killing over 100 people.
The Fulani herdsmen have grazed their cattle in the Nigerian Middle Belt for centuries and there have always been conflicts with local farmers, predominantly Christian, whose crops are often cut in half or even destroyed by herds. But if in the past such conflicts could be purely ethnic or economic nature, the religious nature now seems to have taken over. According to official figures, there have been 492 victims since the beginning of the single state of Benue.
“They are criminals and terrorists but do not do the same things in the territories with a Muslim majority,’ said Bishop Avenya. “We are convinced that it is ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians.”