7 killed, houses burnt in clashes with herdsmen

There appears no end in sight in the bloodletting between Fulani herdsmen and settler-farmers in Nigeria’s Plateau state.

With close to sixty people killed in March, renewed clashes have killed another seven persons, the Nigeria military said Tuesday.

Plateau state, which falls on the dividing line between Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north and predominately Christian south, has been racked for more than a decade by ethnic violence fuelled by land and political disputes.

“Seven people were killed in the attack at (the central) Langtang area of the state over the weekend,” the military spokesman in Plateau, Captain Salisu Mustapha said.

He said the suspected gunmen were members of the mostly Muslim Fulani ethnic group, made up largely of nomadic herdsmen.

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The violence continued in another area on Monday when purported Fulani attackers razed several homes and fired weapons, but no one was killed, Mustapha added.

The Fulani have been blamed for scores of attacks on Christians in the state, who are mainly farmers.

Plateau’s Christian ethnic groups see themselves as the state’s indigenous people and hold greater land ownership and political rights. They have accused the Fulani of trying to steal wide swathes of land.

Fulani leaders have said their tribesmen are the victims of unequal treatment from the state’s mostly Christian political leaders.

The conflict is estimated to have killed 4,000 people since 2001, according to the International Crisis Group.

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At least 23 people, including both Fulani and Christian settlers, were killed in clashes on March 20 and 21, while 36 others died in violence over the last weekend of March.

Dozens of houses were also burnt in the violence last month.


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