from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA – ARMED nomadic herdsmen have overtaken the Boko Haram terror group as the deadliest sect in the continent.
The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations disclosed the record in the wake of the killing of more than 1 000 people and displacement of about 300 000 people, mainly farmers, by the herders during inter-community clashes this year.
The number of attacks against civilians in the central states of Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau and Taraba is reportedly 48 percent higher than the number of violations the feared Boko Haram northeast of the country.
Since the most recent major clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Plateau in late June, more than 38 000 people have been displaced from their homes and are accommodated in over 31 camps.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is assisting some 22 000 of these victims with food and basic commodities.
Conflicts between farmers and herders in the Nigerian Middle Belt region have strongly escalated this year.
In 2014, the Global Terrorism Index rated the armed herdsman, mostly of the Fulani tribe, as the fourth deadliest terrorist group globally.
The cattle rearers are notorious for using machine guns and attacks on villages to assault and intimidate farmers.
The violence is a stiff test to the government in the West African country, which is contending with banditry by the Islamic Boko Haram.
Boko Haram, until the emergence of the herder-farmer clashes in Nigeria, was feared as the deadliest group in Africa. Its terror has spread to neighbouring countries.
– CAJ News