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

Area military spokesman Salisu Mustapha said that unknown gunmen carried out the attack on four villages at about 2am local time (1am GMT) on Tuesday.

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

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

Plateau falls in Nigeria's "Middle Belt", the dividing line between the majority Christian south and majority Muslim north.

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

Boko Haram, which is waging a four-year-old war in the north, have previously attacked Plateau, but there was no immediate indication that the banned group was behind the latest violence.

The mostly Muslim Fulani-Hausa group has been blamed for attacks on Christians from the Berom group.

Berom leaders have accused the military of supporting and at times co-operating with the Fulani but such allegations have not been proven.

Several peace processes in Plateau have mostly failed to stop the violence, with deep mistrust persisting between the state's politicians and the security forces.

Source: Agencies