Thirteen dead after ethnic clashes in Nigeria

Thursday, March 18, 2010

At least thirteen people were killed by armed herdsmen in Nigeria yesterday, in a village near the city of Jos, reports say.

According to witnesses, the herdsmen, who were disguised as soldiers, attacked the village of Byei, south of Jos, at dawn. Media reports say that most of the dead were women and children.

"I can confirm that thirteen people have died while six others have been critically injured," commented state information commissioner Gregory Yenlong.

A correspondent for the Al Jazeera news agency said that the military was preparing a statement about the attack, and probably will deny any involvement in it.

Violence in and around Jos, mainly between Christians and Muslims has recurred frequently in recent times, and has claimed several thousand lives. Last week 200 people were killed after clashes in villages near the city, while in January, another 300 people died in similar unrest. The violence has been blamed partially to competition for fertile land between Muslims in the north, and Christian and animist groups from the south.

According to reports, many of the victims had deep wounds from machetes, and some were burned; at least three huts were torched in the violence as well.