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A mass funeral in Nigeria after 70 people were killed in attacks blamed on Fulani herders. A mass funeral after more than 70 people were killed in a series of attacks blamed on Fulani herders who opposed a new anti-grazing law, in Makurdi, Nigeria, Jan. 11, 2018 (AP photo).

What Explains the Rise of Communal Violence in Mali, Nigeria and Ethiopia?

Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019

After surrounding the villages at dawn, the militias stormed in, armed with machetes and firearms. As Reuters later reported, the “gunmen left the charred bodies of women and children smoldering in their homes.”

The attack on two villages in central Mali in March, in which 170 people were reportedly killed, was shocking enough to generate international headlines. But beyond the grisly details were its seemingly stark ethnic dimensions. The militias were made up of members of the Dogon ethnic group, which is primarily pastoralist. The victims in the two villages were mostly members of the Fulani ethnic group, semi-nomadic herders who are mainly Muslim and had been accused by the militias of supporting Islamist extremists operating in the area. ...

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