The death toll has risen to 160 in a series of attacks by armed groups in several villages in north-central Nigeria. Last Sunday evening, the army said that 16 people were killed, but the next day on Monday, local officials said that the number of dead was at least 160. The news agency AFP reported this information in a report.
The Bokos state in north-central Nigeria has been plagued by religious and ethnic tensions for years. The state’s local government chief Kasah told AFP on Monday evening that the armed group, known locally as ‘bandits’, launched surprise attacks on about 20 communities and burned houses. Initially 113 deaths were reported. Later the death toll increased rapidly and it reached 160 people.
Apart from this, at least 300 others were injured, Kasah said. He said the injured have been admitted to Bokos, Jos and Barkin Ladir hospitals.
The local Red Cross said the attackers had raided 18 villages in the Bokos region. At least 104 deaths have been reported there. In addition, member of the state parliament Dickson Cholom confirmed the death of at least 56 people in some villages of Barkin Ladi area.
Dickson Cholom strongly condemned the attack, saying, ‘We will not succumb to the tactics of these death-merchants. We are united in our pursuit of justice and lasting peace.’ He urged the security forces to take swift action.
However, the country’s army has not yet commented on the attack. Clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the region are frequent, AFP reported. Hundreds of people have lost their lives in recent years in sectarian clashes there.
Earlier, at least 74 people were killed in two separate gun attacks in the country’s north-central Benue state. There is fierce competition between farmers and herders for the use of land. Ethnic and religious divisions are often involved in this conflict.
Local herders blame nomadic herders for destroying the farmland where their cattle graze. This conflict often escalates into clashes and reprisal attacks between informal armed groups.