Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gunmen kill villagers in volatile central Nigeria



Gunmen kill villagers in volatile central Nigeria

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A view of the city of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. For years, the city was a flashpoint for ethnic strife pitting Christian and Muslim youth against each other in clashes in their rival neighbourhoods. AFP

Gunmen kill villagers in volatile central Nigeria

Gunmen attacked a mainly Christian village in a volatile Nigeria state, killing as many as 18 people and burning down two dozen homes, a community leader, a resident and local authorities said on January 12.

Plateau State has struggled for years with tit-for-tat violence between Muslim herders and Christian farmers though authorities often blame recent attacks on criminal gangs.

Attackers hit the Ancha community in Bassa local government area of Plateau late on January 11, residents and authorities said, sending villagers fleeing.

“The attackers came shooting sporadically with guns at night . . . They took long time doing what they did, up till the time when security arrived,” Ancha resident Dickson Auta said by telephone.

“Having heard gunshots some of us managed to run into the bush and that was how we escaped.”

Local Irigwe community leader Davidson Malison and Auta said 18 people were killed in the attack, though authorities gave no official death toll.

“The attack which lasted for over two hours . . . led to the killing of 18 people with six others injured,” Malison said in a statement.

More than 24 households were burned and vehicles, motorcycles and harvested food crops were destroyed, he said.

Malison blamed Muslim Fulani herders for the violence.

Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong said the attack “left many dead and properties destroyed” but did not give a toll for the attack, calling it part of “unending cycle of violent attacks” in the area.

Nigeria’s army said troops mobilised to the village, though attackers had fled by the time they arrived.

“Houses were destroyed and some villagers lost their lives,” the army statement said.

Authorities did not blame any group for the violence.

Muhammad Nuru Abdullah, chairman of a local cattle herders association, condemned the attack on Ancha but dismissed accusations the Fulani community was responsible.

“It is worrisome to say that whenever the Irigwe People are attacked or killed they [are] quick to shift blame on us,” he said. “We challenge both the Irigwe People and any other person to prove their assertions.”

Jos, the capital of Plateau sits on the dividing line between Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north and the country’s mainly Christian south.

Local authorities have been working to maintain the peace, and often blame criminal bandit gangs for some of the recent violence.

In December gunmen attacked Pinau village in Plateau state during market day, killing at least eight people.

At least 23 Muslim travellers were killed in Plateau in August when their bus convoy was attacked outside the state capital Jos.

Police at the time blamed Irigwe youths for the assault, though community leaders rejected that accusation.

A week later, gunmen descended on a predominantly Christian village on the outskirts of the city, shooting 18 people dead.

More than 15,000 people fled their homes that month due to the violence, according to the UN’s migration agency.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa