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Boko Haram's new strategy: arm Muslim herdsmen to attack Christian farmers?

August 09, 2016

A Nigerian bishop fears that the Boko Haram terrorist group may have chosen a new strategy: arming Muslim herdsmen to attack Christian farmers, in a bid to drive Christians out of areas that are now evenly divided between members of the two faiths.

Bishop Charles Hammawa of Jalingo told Aid to the Church in Need that he has seen evidence that Boko Haram is providing sophisticated weaponry from the Fulani herdsmen who are clashing with Christian farmers in eastern Nigeria. He remarks: "It appears to be a strategy to deliberately populate areas with Muslims and, by the sheer weight of superior numbers, influence political decision-making in the region." 

In the past, the bishop explained, disputes between the herdsmen and farmers would flare up and die down quickly. But in the past few years the conflicts have escalated. The results, he reports, have left "numerous dead, destroyed many communities, and displaced thousands of people."

Bishop Hammawa said that the new strategy might have been chosen by Boko Haram because the terrorist group has met with stronger opposition, and its direct military attacks have been less successful. But the bishop has reservations about the policies of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has been "very cautious and a little bit slow" in repsonding to the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers. 


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