by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A new report by major Christian advocacy and international human rights organizations warns that the ongoing slaughter of many thousands of Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt at the hands of Fulani Muslim terrorists could increase to the level of genocide if it continues to be unchecked, International Christian Concern (ICC) report.
The 2022 report by Christian Solidarity International released with the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) and the International Organization for Peacebuilding and Social Justice (PSJ) echoes concerns expressed by other rights groups, including Genocide Watch, in recent years.
Titled “Breaking Point in Central Nigeria? Terror and Mass Displacement in the Middle Belt,” the report details continual attacks by Fulani militia on Christian communities in the Middle Belt. “The violence has displaced millions and appears designed to reduce the number of indigenous Christians in the region. Inasmuch as the attacks are intended to destroy ethnoreligious communities, they may rise to the level of ethnic cleansing or even genocide,” the report attests.
The Nigerian authorities have done nothing to stop what has been going on for years, and have even persecuted journalists who expose the situation, ICC reports. The Fulani-led government has also downplayed the situation, claiming the violence amounts to mere fighting over grazing rights - a contention that the Breaking Point report rejects.
The international community has been indifferent as thousands of Nigerian Christians are murdered and abducted each year, and millions displaced.
Indeed, to the shock of advocacy groups like International Christian Concern, last year the US State Department went so far as to remove Nigeria from its list of ‘Countries of Particular Concern in regard to religious freedom’ ahead of a diplomatic visit to the nation by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
Among other recommendations, the Breaking Point 2022 report calls on the US government to place Nigeria back on its Countries of Concern list, ICC said. The report also calls on the EU and UN to allocate funding to the development of the Middle Belt to alleviate the distress caused by displacement as Islamic terrorists burn homes and businesses to the ground. Finally, the report says the Signatories to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide “must fulfill their obligation to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.”