14 March 2014

Nigeria: Gunmen Kill Dozens in Northern Nigeria

Photo: Aminu Abubakar/IRIN
A man stands outside his destroyed home (file photo).

Dozens of people have been killed in northern Nigeria in what is believed to be clashes between rival ethnic groups. The region has seen months of violence over farmland.

A large gang of gunmen on motorcycles swept through villages in Nigeria's northern Katsina state, about 400 kilometers (248 miles) north of the capital, Abuja.

The exact death toll is unclear, with police putting it at 40, while survivors have said it reaches beyond 100. The attacks are understood to have begun on Tuesday and continued again on Thursday when the group of armed men returned.

The chief imam of Maigora village in Katsina's Faskari local government area said the men wore either military uniforms or the typical clothes of Fulani herdsmen.

"The figure that I have is 40 dead and it was a clash between Hausa people and Fulani herdsmen," Katsina state police commissioner Hurdi Mohammed told Reuters.

The area has been plagued by months of violence that has been blamed on semi-nomadic Fulani herders attacking Hausa farmers. Both groups are Muslim.

The tribal and religious animosity between the groups is exacerbated by disputes over land and water. Fulani have complained that their survival is being compromised by farmers taking over grazing lands.

The clashes are thought to be unrelated to an Islamist insurgency in Nigeria's northeast, in which thousands of civilians have been killed.

- AP, dpa, Reuters

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