After violent clashes in central Nigeria between Muslim herders and Christian farmers, occuring during weekend media is citing police informing that 86 people were killed. The growing conflict between two groups has become deadlier than Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremist insurgency.
Following the massacre Nigeria’s president in a statement accused unnamed politicians of taking advantage of the chaos ahead of next year’s elections, calling it “incredibly unfortunate.”
Dramatic footage showed people in rage waving machetes and sticks and shouting at passing security forces as they weaved around overturned and burning vehicles.
President Muhammadu Buhari warned against reprisal attacks after the “deeply unfortunate killings across a number of communities”, while the military, police and counterterror units were sent to end the bloodshed. “No efforts will be spared” to find the attackers, Buhari vowed.
Nigeria’s government said “scores” were killed but did not announce a death toll. The independent Channels Television cited a Plateau State police spokesman, Mathias Tyopev, as saying 86 people had been killed, with at least 50 houses destroyed.
Nigeria has a population of 180 million with 87 million people living in extreme poverty. Since 1999, farmer-herder violence has killed thousands of people and displaced tens of thousands more. It followed a trend in the increase of farmer-herder conflicts throughout much of the western Sahel.