Attacks in Plateau state Nigeria kill 14

AFP: Two gun attacks in Nigeria’s flashpoint Plateau state, which has been racked by sectarian violence, have left 14 people including three children dead since the weekend, police said Wednesday.

Plateau falls in Nigeria’s ‘Middle Belt,’ where the mainly Muslim north and mostly Christian south meet.

The state has seen scores of attacks involving the Fulani, an ethnic group of Muslim pastoralists, and ‘indigenous’ Christian communities, although it was not clear who was behind the latest violence.

“Yesterday at about 1900 hours (1800 GMT), two men who were half-brothers were shot dead by unknown gunmen who ambushed them,” Plateau police spokesman Emmanuel Abuh told AFP.

“A woman and her three children were also killed in their home,” he added, saying the Tuesday attacks happened in the Riyom local government area, near the state capital Jos.

The family killings followed a weekend attack in the Barkin Ladi area of Plateau that saw eight people shot dead, Abuh added.

Both the police and a military spokesman declined to comment on the suspected perpetrators while state government spokesman Pam Ayuba said he believed Fulani gunmen were to blame for the weekend killings.

In July, two prominent politicians from the mostly Christian Berom ethnic group were shot dead while attending a funeral in Barkin Ladi, part of weekend of violence that left more than 100 dead. Police blamed the Fulani for those attacks.

The widow of a senator killed in the graveyard shootings was elected to replace her late husband in a by-election on Saturday.

Clashes between the Berom and Fulani have killed hundreds in recent years. Several grievances have fuelled the conflict, including claims by the Berom that the Fulani are seeking to appropriate wide swathes of land.

The Fulani have countered that they have been marginalised and deprived of basic rights by the state’s mostly Christian political leaders.

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