Gunmen kill 10 in central Nigeria flashpoint

Gunmen kill 10 in central Nigeria flashpoint

Gunmen have killed at least 10 people in a central Nigeria state that has become a flashpoint for intercommunal clashes, the military said.

The army has reinforced security in Plateau State after around 300 people were killed in three months of attacks among mostly Muslim nomadic herders and Christian farming communities.

In the latest attack on Sunday, gunmen stormed the Kulben area of Plateau’s Mangu district, which has been the epicentre of the months of violence, army spokesman Captain Oya James said.

“At least 10 people have been confirmed killed,” James said. “When our men arrived the attackers have left.”

Violence in Plateau, which sits on the dividing line between Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north and predominately Christian south, is rooted in conflict over land and resources for grazing and farming.

But violence often spirals as armed militias carry out tit-for-tat reprisal raids on villages and communities organise self-defence vigilante groups.

“We heard the sound of gunshots, everyone ran for their lives, but some were killed, including local vigilantes,” local resident Peter Langae said.

Vigilante members said six of their group were killed pursuing the attackers, along with four people from the community.

More than 80,000 people have also been displaced from their homes by violence since the latest spate of attacks began in May.

Intercommunal violence in central Nigeria is just one of the challenges facing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who came to office in May pledging to make tackling insecurity a priority.

Nigeria’s armed forces are also battling a long-running jihadist insurgency in the northeast and bandit gangs in the northwest who carry out mass kidnappings and looting raids.

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