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Gunmen kill 30, raze 56 houses in Nigeria attack

05 February 2014, 09:09

Jos - Gunmen killed about 30 people in an early morning raid on two villages in central Nigeria, witnesses said on Tuesday, in the latest violence to hit the region.

The police in Plateau state, which has been hit by repeated communal violence, confirmed the attack but could not provide details of casualties.

One witness, Rufus Gyang, said the attack happened at about 03:00 (02:00 GMT) and the gunmen "started shooting sporadically, killing innocent villagers in their sleep".

Nineteen people were killed in Rajat and 11 in Atakar villages, all in the Riyom local government area of the state, he added.

More than 60 houses were razed in the attack, while tens of others were injured, he added.

Local lawmaker Daniel Dem confirmed the killing and added that two of the victims were security agents deployed to the area.

Authorities said last month that ethnic Fulani herdsmen were suspected of killing 34 people in a similar raid.

State Information Commissioner Yiljap Abraham said that 34 people were killed, 24 injured and 600 people displaced in the attack by gunmen on Shonong village on 6 January.

Grazing rights

He said that 56 houses were burned down during the raid.

Plateau lies in Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt, where the country's majority Muslim north meets the predominantly Christian south.

More than 10 000 people are thought to have died in Plateau and neighbouring Kaduna state since 1992 and several thousand since 2010, Human Rights Watch said in December last year.

Many grievances are centred around perceived favouritism and/or discrimination among Hausa-Fulani Muslims and Christian groups, as well disputes over cattle grazing rights.

Human Rights Watch has said not enough is being done to tackle the underlying causes of the violence, despite the identities of the perpetrators on both sides being widely known locally.



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