18 persons killed near Jos’ christian villages; reprisal fears mount
Special to USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, The Black Business Journal, USAfrica e-groupand Nigeria360@yahoogroups e-group
AFP: Jos, Nigeria — Twelve people were reported dead in an overnight attack on a central Nigerian village, the military said, in the latest outbreak of violence in the tense region near the city of Jos.
“About 12 people were killed in an isolated attack on a village by suspected (Muslim) Fulanis,” the commander of a military unit deployed in the region, Brigadier-General Hassan Umaru, told AFP.
The attack took place in the mainly Christian village of Bere Rige Fan in Barkin Ladi area, 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Jos, a flashpoint of sectarian violence in Nigeria.
Police confirmed the attack but did not immediately give details of casualties. The military chief Umaru said the attackers made off with an unspecified number of cows “and I think that was the principal reason for the attack”.
Fulanis are traditionally nomadic cattle herdsmen. A village community leader Samson Dabou said they had counted 17 dead, nine of them children and six wounded, but the figure could not be independently confirmed.
“They went from house to house and broke the doors open, and started shooting. When they (the victims) fell down they cut them with machetes,” said Dabou by telephone.
He said he narrowly escaped as he fled into nearby bushes when the attackers raided the village.
“They killed 17 people and six were injured,” he added about the attack which occurred shortly after midnight.
Mark Lipdo of a Jos-based Christian rights group Stefanos Foundation said the assailants went “from house to house slaughtering people”.
Jos and its environs in central Plateau state have been hit by waves of violence involving Christian and Muslim ethnic groups in recent years that left hundreds of people dead.
A series of Christmas Eve bomb blasts in Jos killed dozens and set off a new round of violence.
Plateau state is located in the so-called middle belt between the mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south of Africa’s most populous nation. ref: AFP