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Gunmen kill 37 in central Nigeria attack

27 November 2013, 08:19

Lagos - Gunmen in central Nigeria's Plateau state killed 37 people in a pre-dawn raid Tuesday, the military said, the latest unrest to hit the area gripped by a decade-long sectarian conflict.

"At about 02:00  (01:00 GMT) unknown gunmen carried out an attack" in four villages, said area military spokesperson Salisu Mustapha.

"The attackers killed... 13 persons in Katu Kapang, eight in Daron, nine in Tul and seven others in Rawuru."

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

Mostly Muslim herdsmen from the Fulani-Hausa ethnic group have been blamed for scores of attacks on mainly Christian agriculturalists from the Berom ethnic community.

Fulani leaders say the Berom politicians who control the state have systemically suppressed the rights of herdsmen, denying them access to desperately needed grazing land.

It was not clear who carried out the latest attack which hit the Barkin Ladi area, a hotspot in the protracted conflict.

Boko Haram Islamists, waging a brutal four-year insurgency in the north, have also attacked Plateau, but there was no immediate indication that the banned insurgent group was behind the latest violence.

Mustapha said "the gunmen fled on sighting the arrival of the troops" and that the situation was now "under control".



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