Nigerian Muslim herders attacked Christian villages with machetes at 3 in the morning. The Muslims hacked the Christians as they fled out of their homes. Up to 300 are feared dead.
File photo shows workers closing mass graves in Jos in central Nigeria where dozens of people killed during violent religious clashes near the city have been buried. Security forces in the country have been placed on red alert after a new outburst of sectarian violence left at least 100 people dead, mainly women and children, as machete wielding gangs burned down villages. (AFP/Pius Utomi Ekpei)
Nigeria’s acting president Sunday ordered the security forces to hunt down those behind clashes involving Muslim herders and Christian villagers in which more than 300 people may have been killed.
The latest unrest in Nigeria’s central Plateau state comes at a difficult time, with acting leader Goodluck Jonathan trying to assert his authority while ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua remains too sick to govern the oil-producing nation.
Villagers in Dogo Nahawa, just south of the state capital Jos, said Hausa-Fulani herders from surrounding hills attacked at about 3 a.m. (10 p.m. EST), shooting into the air before cutting those who came out of their homes with machetes.
A Red Cross official said at least two other nearby communities were also targeted, in an area close to where sectarian clashes killed hundreds of people in January, but that it was too early to give an overall death toll.
A Reuters witness counted more than 120 bodies — most lying in Dogo Nahawa, others taken to mortuaries in Jos — but Plateau State Commissioner for Information Gregory Yenlong said more than 300 people, including women and children, had died.
The Nigerian Guardian has more on the attacks:
“The attack, yet another jihad and provocation of the Christians, started at about 1.30 a.m. last night. We are in touch with the survivors though many of them are still in trauma.
“Dogo Nahawa is a Christian community. The eye-witnesses say the Hausa-Fulani Muslim militants came chanting ‘Allahukabar’ and broke into homes, cutting human beings, including children and women with their knives and cutlasses.
Victims of the latest disturbance in Jos (The Sun)