At least nine people killed in Central Nigeria attacks

Thursday January 18 2024

Security personnel stand guard in the Kanam Local Government Area of the Plateau State, Nigeria after houses were burnt down during an attack by bandits on April 12, 2022. PHOTO | AFP


At least nine people have been killed in Central Nigeria just weeks after a flare-up in intercommunal attacks left nearly 200 dead, the local government said on Thursday.

Officials said the victims died in three attacks on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Bokkos district of Plateau State, a region plagued for years by religious and ethnic tensions.

"Five people were killed while cultivating their potato farm at Butura Kampani," said Bokkos local authority chairman Monday Kassah.

"Three others were also killed at their potato farm (on Wednesday) behind the university," Kassah said.

Read: Bandits abduct students in Nigerian university

Gunshots were heard across farmland behind Plateau State University Bokkos campus, and three bodies were recovered, staff member Azi Peter said.


On Tuesday another man was killed in Butura Kampani village, Kassah said. 

Plateau State, which lies on the dividing line between Nigeria's mostly Muslim north and mainly Christian south, regularly sees outbreaks of ethnic and religious violence.

Although there is often violence between farmers and nomadic herders, authorities have not blamed any group for the most recent attacks.

"We are worried that everyday, our people are attacked and killed," said Umar Ori, head of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders of Nigeria (Macban) in Bokkos.

"Isolated killings will not bring lasting peace in Bokkos communities."

Northwest and Central Nigeria have also long been terrorised by bandit militias who raid villages and kill or kidnap residents for ransom.

Read: Gunmen kill four soldiers, kidnap two Koreans in Nigeria

Over Christmas armed men attacked around 20 villages in the Bokkos and Barkin Ladi districts, killing at least 198 people, according to Plateau State officials.

Thousands of people were displaced in the attacks, which hit mostly Christian villages.

Since coming to office in May last year, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has promised to tackle Nigeria's various security challenges, including a 14-year-old militia conflict in the northeast.