With the Boko Haram insurgency in the north claiming global headlines, the rapidly deteriorating situation in the south has gone largely unnoticed. Over the past months, land invasions by “Fulani Cattle Herders” have increased in the south. Ogun State, Cross River, Imo and Anambra are particularly severely affected. Local sources in all these states say that these are not cattle herders (cattle herders have been around for decades, leading to conflict with local communities). They describe the current wave as “armed Fulani militias”. The militias have established camps in the forests near local communities. In many local communities (confirmed by sources in villages in Anambra) the militias attack local farmers. In many areas there are now food shortages and hunger – farmers are to scared to go to their lands. Consequently there is no food in local markets.

During the past three weeks there have been armed attacks on three police stations (including Obosi and Orlu), with numerous fatalities. There has also been an increase in kidnappings. Residents in southern cities (including Calabar) lock themselves in their houses after sunset.

Local analysts describe the situation in the south as an insurgency, saying that the ultimate goal is to establish a Caliphate, with the entire Nigeria becoming an Islamic state (see https://guardian.ng/opinion/the-storm-is-gathering

Local resident say that the militias are being transported by trucks from the north, and are then supplied with arms once they have established themselves in the south. Two weeks ago a truck carrying arms overturned on a road in Imo state, fuleling speculation that this is the case. On 16 May trucks filled with Fulani, heading towards the east, were intercepted in Imo state.

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