Is There a Connection Between Fleeing  Bokoharam Members and Fulani Herdsmen? - ViralMula.com

Is There a Connection Between Fleeing  Bokoharam Members and Fulani Herdsmen?

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With origins in the Senegambia region, the Fulani now stretch across some 20 states in West Africa and the Sahel belt, ranging from Guinea-Conakry to Sudan. Though the Fulani herders once existed in a symbiotic relationship with sedentary agriculturalists in this region (involving the fertilization of fields by cattle who fed on the vegetative debris left over after crops had been taken in and the exchange of meat and milk for grain and other agricultural products), this relationship has been disturbed in recent years by environmental changes that have driven the herders further south, massive growth in the size of Fulani herds, the growth of practices such as agro-pastoralism, the expansion of farmland into traditional corridors used by the herders and the general collapse of customary conflict-resolution methods.






Many Fulani now tend to reach for automatic weapons to resolve disputes with agricultural communities. This has in turn led to the development of “self-defense” forces in the agricultural communities and the growth of cattle-rustling. Vigilante groups are often more trusted than the Nigerian security forces, which are often suspected of collusion with the herders and/or Boko Haram. Farmers routinely accuse the Fulani herders of allowing their animals to feed on still-growing crops and contamination of community watering-places. The rape of non-Fulani women by herders is also identified as a growing source of conflict and prevents women from carrying out traditional and necessary roles in gathering food and water. The herders in turn accuse the farmers of denying them access to grazing areas when alternatives cannot be found.

Reports of Boko Haram members (who are mostly members of the Kanuri ethno-cultural group) disguising themselves as Fulani herdsmen while carrying out attacks in rural Nigeria are common. In recent weeks, Nigerian security forces have claimed that some groups of semi-nomadic Fulani herdsmen engaged in bitter and bloody conflicts with farmers in several Nigerian states are actually composed of members of Boko Haram.  Though many of these reports may be attempts to deflect responsibility from Fulani herders for attacks on sedentary farming communities throughout north and central Nigeria, even the perception that the Fulani herdsmen have joined forces with Boko Haram could propel Nigeria into a new and devastating civil war.

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