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Nigeria – Christmas eve rampage by nomadic herders leaves at least 140 dead.

Suspected herders launch hours-long attacks on 15 villages, marking bloodiest violence since 2018.

Nomadic herders in Nigeria carried out a Christmas Eve rampage, killing at least 140 people across 15 villages in the central Plateau state. The attacks, which lasted for hours, involved the use of firearms and machetes on the victims. The violence, described as the bloodiest in the country since 2018, occurred in the region known as the “Middle Belt,” where clashes between chiefly Muslim Fulani herders and mainly Christian farmers have been a recurring issue.

Gunmen in Bokkos, north central Nigeria, on Tuesday forces people to flee. (AP)

Plateau Governor Caleb Mutfwang reported the grim aftermath, stating, “As I am talking to you, in Mangu local governorate alone, we buried 15 people. As of this morning, in Bokkos, we are counting not less than 100 corpses. I am yet to take stock of (the deaths in) Barkin Ladi.” The attacks left communities devastated, with houses burned, people killed, and others missing.

A burnt out car is seen following an attack by gunmen in Bokkos, north central Nigeria. (AP)

The violence, triggered for unclear reasons, highlights the ongoing conflict over access to land and water, exacerbating the sectarian division between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. The region has witnessed clashes between farmers and herders, with the Fulani herders often accused of carrying out mass killings. In this instance, blame fell on herders from the Fulani tribe, although no group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Locals reported a delay of over 12 hours before security agencies responded to their call for help. The incident underscores the urgent need for addressing the longstanding tensions and fostering security measures to protect vulnerable communities in the country.

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