Over 200 killed in weekend violence in central Nigeria: governor

2018-06-27 14:33
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

More than 200 people were killed in violence against farming communities last weekend in Plateau state, central Nigeria, according to a speech by the Plateau state governor Simon Lalong published on Wednesday.

Lalong said after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the state capital Jos on Tuesday night that the clashes had left "the painful loss of over 200 people".

The police, who blame suspected cattle herders, have said 86 people were killed. However, multiple local sources from the communities affected maintained more than 100 people died.

The main association representing the largely nomadic herders has denied its community had any involvement in the killings and said its members had been repeatedly targeted for months.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER 

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

The violence - an apparent reprisal after ethnic Berom farmers allegedly killed five Fulani - is the latest bout in months of bloodletting in Nigeria's so-called "Middle Belt".

The clashes are rooted in tensions over access to land between the pastoral herders and sedentary farmers but have generated sectarian friction between Muslims and Christians.

Lalong suggested "criminal elements" were exacerbating hostilities, including "conflict merchants" involved in "cattle rustling, theft, banditry, gun running" and other crimes.

Both he and Buhari have also warned about politicising the conflict or giving it a religious dimension.

'Terrorist invasion'

Buhari came to power in 2015 on a promise to curb insecurity across the country, in particular Boko Haram, whose Islamist insurgency has killed at least 20 000 since 2009.

But a resurgence of violence in the long-running conflict between herders and farmers has put that under scrutiny as elections approach in February next year.

Analysts predict the extent of the unrest could eclipse that of the jihadists in the northeast.

Lalong said the latest attacks in Plateau were carried out with "sophisticated weapons" that were "reflective of a terrorist invasion".

"It (the bloodshed) therefore demands a justified response like that which was undertaken to address the Boko Haram insurgency," he added.

Lawmakers earlier this month threatened Buhari with impeachment because his security chiefs had repeatedly failed to protect lives and property.

The 75-year-old leader on Tuesday said he would "continue to pressurise members of the law enforcement agencies directly under me by the constitution as the commander-in-chief".

He also said it was an "injustice" to imply he was doing nothing because he was also Fulani and Muslim.

Police and army reinforcements have been sent to Plateau to improve security, while a dusk-to-dawn curfew remained in place in areas of the state affected by the violence.

Resign call

Plateau has been the scene of similar violence in the past but in the last three years has been relatively calm, as clashes have spread elsewhere.

Benue state in particular has become the epicentre of violence since the start of this year after it banned free grazing by cattle.

In April, herders were again blamed for an attack on a Roman Catholic church that killed two priests and 17 worshippers. In January, attacks on farming communities killed at least 80.

In a strongly-worded front page editorial on Wednesday, the financial daily Business Day questioned why the killings in Plateau and elsewhere had not been prevented.

"President Buhari has failed and continues to fail in his responsibility to protect Nigerians" as security chiefs had not been held to account for repeated attacks, the newspaper said.

He also appeared to have shown "high-level disinterest" in making security apparatus more effective to prevent violence, it added.

"If the President cannot handle the responsibility of protecting Nigerians he should do the honourable thing and resign from his position," it added.

"In a situation like this he should not even be seen talking about a second term."

Read more on:    boko haram  |  muhammadu buhari  |  nigeria  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

IT Manager (contract)

Cape Town CBD
Communicate Cape Town IT
R330 000.00 - R458 000.00 Per Year

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.