(WatchDogReport.org) – Nomadic herders killed at least 140 people in Nigeria’s central Plateau state on December 24. Local reports noted that the criminals committed the violent rampage through 15 villages and used machetes and firearms against their victims. Nigerian media outlets said that some local villagers remain missing.
In a televised speech on local Channels Television, Plateau Governor Caleb Mutfwang said that authorities buried 15 people in the Mangu local governorate and noted that they found over 100 corpses in Bokkos. Mutfwang added that it remains unclear how many people were killed at the Barkin Ladi town, pointing out that the violent incident represents one of the “worst atrocities” ever committed against people in Plateau.
Different news agencies reported that the massacre is the bloodiest act of violence that the African nation has experienced since 2018, when over 200 people were brutally killed after violent clashes between herders and farmers. Violence in Nigeria has been skyrocketing over the last few years following the rise of authoritarian governments and the radical Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.
While it remains unclear the reasons behind the last episode of extreme violence, some media outlets have reported that the Plateau region, which is known as “Nigeria’s Middle Belt, has some tensions between Muslims and Christians. Some reports have noted that Muslim Fulani herdsmen have been claiming over the last few months that Christian communities shouldn’t be part of the region.
While no group took responsibility for the brutal attacks, many blame the Muslim herders of the Fulani tribe, who have been accused by authorities of executing massacres and multiple types of crimes in Nigeria’s central region. Political analysts have explained that the conflict in the area started in the 1990s because of the lack of water, which worsened divisions between Muslim and Christian communities.
In a statement, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu said that his government was “praying” for the victims’ families, noting that the massacre was “unprovoked.” He also directed the Nigerian police to find and prosecute those responsible.
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