Central Nigeria: At Least 160 Killed in Attacks

In central Nigeria more than 160 people reported dead in a series of attacks on villages. The attacks, by military gangs locally known as bandits. This is one of the deadliest incidents in the region.

Central Nigeria: At Least 160 Killed in Attacks

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The central Nigerian state of Plateau has been struggling with religious and tensions, often said as clashes between Muslim herders and Christian farmers.

The struggle for natural resources between nomadic herders and farmers, with population growth, has intensified these tensions, leading to a cycle of violence that has claimed hundreds of lives in recent years.

The attacks, described as well-coordinated by local officials, happened over the weekend in not fewer than 20 different communities across Plateau State.

The death toll reported by the army on Sunday evening was a shocking 16, but updates from the acting chairman of Bokkos Local Government Area, Monday Kassah, revealed a 113 confirmed deaths in the attacks on Saturday and Sunday. The toll further rose to over 160 as more information surfaced.

The aftermath of the attacks also included more than 300 reported injuries, as the assailants targeted villages with brutality.

Houses were torched, and entire communities were affected, necessitating the transfer of wounded individuals to hospitals in Bokkos, Jos, and Barkin Ladi. The injured, numbering over 300.

Monday Kassah, the acting chairman of Bokkos Local Government Area, condemned the attacks, describing them as well-coordinated and revealing the extent of the devastation across the affected communities.

He refrained from naming the perpetrators but addressed the need for measures to curb ongoing attacks against innocent civilians.

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The governor’s spokesperson, Gyang Bere, said the sentiment, assuring that the government would take measures to address the violence.

With a member of the state parliament, Dickson Chollom, urging a response. Chollom condemned the violence as the work of merchants of death and said the collective pursuit of justice and lasting peace in the region.

The region has been a hotspot for bandit militias operating from deep within forests, terrorizing villages, looting, and kidnapping residents for ransom. The northwest and central parts of Nigeria have long been plagued by such militias.

Following the attacks, human rights group Amnesty International criticized the Nigerian authorities, asserting that they have been failing to end frequent deadly attacks on rural communities in Plateau state.

The critique said the challenges faced by the government in addressing the root causes of violence and ensuring the safety of communities.

While ethno-religious tensions often in discussions about violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, it is crucial to recognize the role of climate change and expanding agriculture as contributing factors.

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The competition for natural resources, driven by the impact of climate change on land and water availability, has created tensions between herders and farmers.

Rapid population growth further intensifies these pressures, creating a mix that exacerbates social tensions and contributes to the outbreak of violence.

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu ordered an investigation into a military drone strike that resulted in the accidental killing of 85 civilians gathered for a religious celebration earlier this month.

The president lamented the bombing mishap and addressed the challenges in the country. Tinubu, elected in February in a highly contested ballot, has pledged to attract more investment to Africa’s largest economy.

Monday Kassah, the acting chairman of Bokkos Local Government Area, provided details of the aftermath, confirming that 113 people were killed on Saturday and Sunday.

Additionally, more than 300 individuals were reported injured, and they were transported to hospitals in Bokkos, Jos, and Barkin Ladi for medical attention.

The attacks prompted a strong condemnation from Plateau State Governor Caleb Mutfwang, who labeled the violence as barbaric, brutal, and unjustified.

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