Communal violence in central Nigeria kills six

2015-05-21 07:01

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Jos - Gunmen killed at least six people in twin attacks in Nigeria's restive central region, the latest bloodshed in a long-running conflict between nomadic herdsmen and farming communities, police said on Wednesday.

Officials blamed the violence on the mainly Muslim Fulani ethnic group and said the death toll from Tuesday's attacks had reached 27 but there was no immediate confirmation of the higher figure.

Local government chairman Emmanuel Loman in the Barkin Ladi area of Plateau state said the Fulani herdsmen initially shot dead seven people as part of a cattle raid in Ninji Village.

They later stormed the nearby village of Ropp, killing 20.

"As I speak to you now, I am at the mass burial of our 27 people massacred by the Fulani and their mercenaries," Loman said.

Plateau state police spokesman Abuh Emmanuel said "only six people were killed".

Local government officials in Plateau, who are predominately members of Christian ethnic groups, have in the past sought to blame the Fulani for any bloodshed, amid long-running tensions in the state.

Plateau falls on the dividing line between Nigeria's mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north.

The largely agrarian, Christian communities in the state maintain the Fulani are engaged in a prolonged battle to gobble up land from the areas of so-called indigenous people.

Fulani leaders counter that their people face discrimination as "foreigners" in Plateau and are deprived of basic rights, including access to land, education and political office, despite having lived in the area for decades.

Tensions frequently boil over, with more than 10,000 people killed in the state since the turn of the century.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa

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