A former U.S. State Department official in Kirkuk, Iraq, describes the slaughter of Christians in Nigeria as the former Congressman Frank Wolf has described it: "a genocidal crisis of our age."
According to an end-of-year report released by the U.K.-based Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, more than 1,000 Christian Nigerians were slaughtered in 2019 alone. The HART report also estimates over 6,000 were murdered and 12,000 displaced from their communities since 2015. While these reports center around ethnic Fulani tribesmen, others responsible for the bloody massacres against Christian villages include Boko Haram, ISIS, and other Jihadist-terror groups.
In 2019, organizations around the world made sincere efforts to bring attention to the genocidal crisis in Nigeria, according to Douglas Burton, a former U.S. State Department official who publishes news investigations of terrorism in Nigeria.
Burton credits Stephen Enada and the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) for raising awareness among Americans of Nigerian heritage in order to inspire more voices to decry the inept efforts of the Nigerian federal government to police "bad actors."
"I met Mr. Enada, an asylee from Nigerian terrorism, at a press event last January and got motivated to write a dozen articles on the genocide," Burton says in an interview with OneNewsNow. "Mr. Enada is a great example of someone who has been passionately engaged in bringing the repeated acts of violence against Christians in Nigeria to an end."
Countless examples riddle the news, as Christians in Nigeria persistently face persecution and annihilation in some of the most gruesome ways. In one recent example, ISIS executed 11 Christian men in Borno State, Nigeria. A video released by the terrorist group shows one of the men being shot, while ten others were beheaded.
Masked by a black hood, one of the terrorists in the December 26 video shared a message for the followers of Christ in the region: "Those who are seen in front of us are Christians, and we will spill their bloods to avenge our glorious sheikhs – the caliph of Muslims [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi], and the official spokesman of the Islamic State Sheikh Abu Al-Hassan Al-Muhajir, may Allah accept them."
On the same day the video was released, Boko Haram also beheaded a Christian bride and her bridal party days before her wedding in northeast Borno State.
As the world watches the seemingly unending assault against Christian Nigerians, an author for the Critical Threats Project says "the U.S. is planning to wind down its counterterrorism footprint in Africa and is turning a blind eye to the Islamic State's largest African affiliate just as this group becomes deadlier." The greater threat to U.S. interests in Nigeria is quickly becoming the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWA).
Burton attests that "tens of thousands of [Nigerian] people have been murdered by Islamic insurgences." Armed terrorist groups, like ISWA and Boko Haram, "consider themselves the forerunners of an Islamic Caliphate in Nigeria," he adds.
Nonetheless, Burton claims, "the chief homicidal crisis in country during the last five years has been a genocidal war of forced evacuation of sedentary agriculturalists by semi-nomadic pastoralists, the so-called farmer-herder conflict."
"This tragic war is less understood by observers and by some Nigerians themselves," the news writer and commentator suggests. The ethnic Fulani tribesmen are not necessarily considered "warring militias," but according to Burton, "[they are] loosely organized bands, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, who attack rural villages by night, killing men, women and children with abandon, only to disappear into the bush in a few hours."
"[Nigerian] security officials and government spokesman routinely discount that religious ideology is a factor in the attacks," he continues. "[Instead, they insist] that the bad actors are criminals only – not terrorists. These officials," he emphasizes, "invariably, are Muslims."
The former State Department official observes "some analysts insist that the conflict is simply a fight over scarce resources of land and water." However, Burton discloses he has been told in dozens of interviews that "the murdering bands are ethnic Fulani tribesmen who act both out of material interest and because they feel justified by virulent, Jihadist beliefs."
While the Fulani continue to advance the movement of Christian genocide, the Nigerian Army is engaged in battle with Boko Haram and ISWA. "[ISWA is] demonstrating greater initiative not only in Nigeria but in bordering nations," Burton notes.
"These organized insurgencies [of Boko Haram and ISWA] no longer hold well-defined territory as they did in 2015," he concludes, "but both successfully have forced the removal of Christian communities in the three northern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa."
This past week, ISWA killed 20 soldiers and destroyed at least 750 homes, displacing almost 1,000 people. "ISIS is poised to break out in Nigeria due to weak law-enforcement and low morale of the Nigerian military, some of whom have mutinied under duress," Burton warns.