Nigeria: More than 100 killed as herders, farmers clash
More than 100 people in central Nigeria have died in several days of intercommunal violence that have destroyed hundreds of homes and caused thousands to flee, local officials said on Friday.
The clashes between cattle herders and farming communities in Plateau State are the worst in years in a region that has long struggled with ethnic and religious tensions and reprisal attacks.
The death toll from attacks by gunmen on farming villages in and around the district of Mangu since the start of the week has passed 100, after earlier reports said 85 people were killed, a local official said.
Plateau state security forces had said on Thursday that calm had been restored, but local sources said several villages were still struggling with violence and residents were fleeing.
“The number of people killed has exceeded 100 people from those attacks,” Mangu district chairman Daput Minister Daniel told AFP.
“Up till now there were reports of attacks and burning of houses in many places within the local government area.”
A lawmaker representing Mangu and neighbouring Bokkos in the House of Representatives also said around 100 people had been killed and more than a dozen communities ravaged by attacks.
Lawmaker Solomon Maren told AFP on Friday that the situation was now calm, but access to some communities was still complicated.
Plateau State government has so far not given any death toll, only saying the violence “left many dead.”
The state government convened an emergency meeting over the attacks and pledged security forces on the ground would stem further violence, a statement said on Friday.
“We are working to redeploy more men,” said state police spokesman Alfred Alabo.
“We are also trying to know about the death toll, and properties destroyed.”
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said more than 3,000 people had been displaced and hundreds of houses destroyed.
Police said five people had been arrested.
Violence across Nigeria has been on the rise in the last few weeks after a brief calm period during the February presidential and March state elections.
Last month, gunmen suspected to be herders killed 33 people in an attack on a farming village in northwestern Kaduna state, where intercommunal herder-farmer violence is also common.
Nigeria’s security forces in the northwest are also battling heavily armed bandit militias, as well as a 14-year-old jihadist insurgency in the northeast and separatist tensions in the southeast.