Gunmen kill dozens in central Nigeria

Assailants burned homes to the ground and stole animals in the latest outbreak of violence blamed on ethnic divisions.

Last updated: 06 Jan 2014 22:56
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Police confirmed that many homes were torched in the attack by unidentified gunmen [AP]

Gunmen have killed at least 30 people in a central Nigerian village and torched dozens of homes, officials said.

Witnesses and survivors said the unidentified assailants also killed or stole animals during the Monday onslaught, which marks the latest outbreak of violence blamed on long-standing ethnic divisions.

"Many houses were burned in the attack," state police chief Chris Olakpe said.

Violence in central Nigeria is frequently fuelled by land disputes between semi-nomadic communities like the Muslim Fulani and farming settlers, including mainly Christian Berom, both often armed with automatic weapons.

Many houses were burned in the attack.

Chris Olakpe,
state police chief

In Monday's attack, gunmen stormed the majority-Berom Shonong village in the Riyom local government area in the early hours, opening fire on residents and burning dozens of homes to the ground, said Daniel Dem, a member of the state house of assembly.

A spokesman for the local military confirmed the attack.

Many other people were taken to hospital, said Dem, who questioned why soldiers in the area had not prevented the violence.

Witnesses said more than 40 houses were burned while domestic animals were either killed or taken away by the perpetrators, suspected to be Hausa-Fulani herdsmen.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 10,000 people have died in Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt, where the country's majority Muslim north meets the predominantly Christian south, in brutal tit-for-tat violence over the past two decades.

Such battles, far from economic centres or oilfields in Africa's second-biggest economy and top oil producer, are largely ignored by the central government, rights groups say.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list