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A new wave of attacks by Fulani herdsmen against Christians is leading one international human rights advocate to call on the U.S. Congress to appoint a special envoy to investigate.
"Nigeria is now the deadliest place in the world to be a Christian," explained attorney Emmanuel Ogebe. "What we have is a genocide. They are trying to displace the Christians, they are trying to possess their land and they are trying to impose their religion on the so-called infidels and pagans who they consider Christians to be."
Two weeks ago, 238 people were killed in a village massacre in north-central Nigeria. Six of Ogebe's relatives were among the victims.
"From what we have been able to piece together, the husband and his pregnant wife, he tried to take her out of the house to safety and come back for the kids," recalled Ogebe. "But they ran into the herdsmen along the way and they shot him and his pregnant wife and they went into their home and they killed their 4-year-old son and their 6-year-old daughter who were asleep in their beds."
He said the Muslim attackers also killed two relatives who were visiting the family during summer break.
Ogebe said he was told that authorities would not allow the corpses of his relatives to be taken away for separate burial. Instead, they were buried in a mass grave with the other victims.
CBN Nigeria Director Felix Oisamoje said the violence against Christians has escalated in recent months.
"It's happening more in the middle-belt of the country. The reason simply because the Fulani herdsmen take their cattle into people's farmlands, they eat of their crops on the farm and when the people challenge them, then before you know they respond with AK-47's," he explained.
Oisamoje said most Fulani herdsmen cannot afford the cost of an AK-47.
"Given what an AK-47 goes for, a Fulani herdsman would need to sell all of his cattle to be able to buy an AK-47."
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