Muslim Fulani herdsmen have killed 200 in central Nigeria's Christian communities this year

More than 200 people in the Christian areas of Nasarawa state in Nigeria have been killed in violent attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen just this year, according to local sources.

(REUTERS / Adama Diarra)Cattle herder Boubacar Demba and his children tend to their cattle in Guana, outside Bamako, Mali, November 5, 2016.

Speaking to Morning Star News over the phone, a survivor said two Christians in Oshugu were killed and hundreds were displaced from Nasawara when armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked their village on March 19. The victims who died were members of the Evangelical Church Winning All.

"The attack on our village occurred this morning while we were in the church," Ittah, the survivor, told Morning Star on March 19. "Our village head and one other person died, and many were injured. The sad thing is that these Fulanis have been attacking our communities, and no one is doing anything about it."

On March 16, the Ajiri Afo Development Association sent a petition to the country's National Assembly, saying more than 200 have been killed and 500 others injured in the herdsmen's armed attacks since January. The petition also says the people in the majority Christian areas are being raped and kidnapped.

According to the association's president Aminu Suleiman, their farms have already been deserted because of the continuous violence and kidnappings by Fulani herdsmen. He described how the cattle herders would invade an area by force and launch armed attacks upon any sign of protest, leaving most of the survivors emotionally distressed.

In light of the situation, Suleiman has called on the government to do something to protect the communities vulnerable to these attacks. Nasawara state Police Command spokesperson John Kennedy in turn told Morning Star that they are acting upon the problem.

On March 28, Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of Kafanchan in Kaduna released a statement attributing the ongoing violence to the "deliberate policy of injustice." He also accused the government of favoring the Muslim-majority areas when it is allocating funds for projects.

Given the situation, Bishop Bagobiri said Christians will find it difficult to survive in the northern region of Nigeria. He then urged the Church to learn how to live with the ongoing persecution without losing its faith and to pray that God will give them the strength to preserve Christianity despite the attacks.