At least 37 people were killed and 10 injured by raiders, believed to be nomadic Muslim herdsman, in overnight attacks on Christian villages in the Nigerian state of Plateau on Tuesday, according to numerous reports citing local officials.
Attacks on Christians in Nigeria are becoming increasingly common. Similar attacks are also becoming commonplace in many other countries around the world. In one such country, Syria, a recent massacre of Christians continues to be largely ignored by the mainstream media.
The Washington Post cites Nigerian Special Task Force spokesman Capt. Salisu Mustafa, who said that soldiers recovered 37 corpses in the Barkin Ladi area.
China’s Xinhua, however, reports that at least 40 were killed in the attacks, citing local sources.
“We cannot give the exact number of the casualties yet because our men are collating the figures,” local police spokesperson Felicia Anselm said in the state capitol of Jos, according to Xinhua.
Local residents, however, told Xinhua that over 40 people were killed, including pregnant women and children.
The attacks were reportedly carried out at around 2 a.m. local time according to Xinhua, though the Nigerian Tribune reports that the attacks began around 1 a.m.
The Post cites Rwang Dangton, chairman of the Christian Berom youths’ association, who accused Fulani herders of the attack. The Fula people (or Fulani) are the largest migratory ethnic group in the world and are almost entirely Muslim.
The Miyetti Allah cattle rearers’ association denied the allegations. The attacks followed reports of theft of Fulani cattle and killing of some herders.
The Tribune cites Job Chollom, a community leader, who said that one village was surrounded by gunmen in military uniform who passed instructions to each other in the Fulani language.
The Vanguard reports that some villagers said that security forces provided no help, even though they were “not too far away” during the attack.
Reuters reports that hundreds have been killed over the past year in clashes between the Fulani and the non-migratory people like the Berom in the Plateau state.
Mustafa told Reuters that the victims of the attacks were largely Berom.
The battles between peoples like the Berom and Fulani “rarely capture the attention of [Nigerian] elites,” according to Reuters.
Most of the victims were pregnant women, children and older villagers, the Nigerian newspaper Leadership reported, according to UPI.
Leadership also reported that the villages attacked were Tatu, Rawuru, Bok and Dorang.
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