Several hundred buried in mass graves in Nigeria following clashes

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Several hundred bodies have been buried in Nigeria in mass graves near the city of Jos after recent clashes when Muslim herdsmen reportedly attacked Christian villagers.

"We have about 351 corpses being buried at this mass grave, and at the other end, there is another village called Zot, where there are about 36 corpses to be buried separately," commented Solomon Zang, who is Plateau State's chairman of the search, recovery and evacuation committee, as quoted by News24.

The chairman added that the actual death toll from the violence was higher, as some family members of those killed had made separate funerals, some bodies are still in mortuaries, and because officials are still recovering more corpses. Al Jazeera puts the actual number of killed at over five hundred.

According to reports, villagers in Dogo Nahawa, a small village about fifteen kilometres away from the city of Jos, was attacked by herders from adjacent areas, who used machetes or firearms to cut down people who emerged from their homes. At least two other villages were also attacked by the herdsmen, Al Jazeera reports.

The authorities have arrested 95 people believed to have had a part in the violence, according to Dan Manjang, an advisor to local government. He contradicted reports by Ikechukwu Ayo Aduba, commissioner for police in Plateau State, who stated that 93 people were arrested.

Since 1999, over ten thousand people have died in ethnic clashes in the country.