Curfew widened to control Nigeria violence
Weekend raids by gunmen in a central Nigerian state left more than 100 dead, an official said yesterday, as the governor widened a curfew to restore calm in the flashpoint area.
Plateau state falls in Nigeria’s so-called “Middle Belt,” where the mainly Christian south meets the majority Muslim north, which has been the site of waves of sectarian violence in recent years.
The attacks were blamed on gunmen from the Fulani, a pastoralist Muslim ethnic group with long-standing land rights grievances and resentment against the state’s mostly Christian leaders, who control political power.
At least 80 died when Fulani herdsmen raided several villages on Saturday, the spokesman for the state’s governor, Pam Ayuba, said.
On Sunday, they stormed a graveyard in Barkin-Ladi, roughly 90 kilometres from the state capital, where some of the victims of the previous day’s attack were being buried.
Among those killed in the graveyard assault were federal senator Gyang Dantong and majority leader of the state’s legislature Gyang Fulani, as well as at least 20 others, Mr Ayuba added. Both politicians were members of the mostly Christian Birom ethnic group.
After news spread that the politicians had been killed, mobs set up roadblocks prompting Governor Jonah Jang to impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew in four districts.