Gunmen kill 44 people in Nigeria revenge attack

Nigerian soldiers in Borno

Nigerian soldiers patrolling in the north of Borno state.

Photo credit: Quentin Leboucher | AFP

At least 44 people have been killed by gunmen in Plateau and Benue states in north central Nigeria. This brings to 77 the number of people so far killed in ethnoreligious crisis in a week.

Despite the re-imposition of curfew following the August 14 killing of 33 Muslim travellers in Jos, Plateau state, 36 people, mostly Christians, have been killed in Jos north in a reprisal attack early on Wednesday.

Eight people have also been killed in Benue State in a renewed clash between herders and farmers.

The latest attack early on Wednesday took place at Yelwa Zangam in Plateau state.

Militias of both religious and ethnic groups of Berom and Hausa have continued the attacks in defiance of the curfew imposed by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau.

Angry youths on August 25 took to the streets of Jos to protest against the killings.

Mr Gabriel Ubah, the Plateau State Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed the attack and counterattacks.

Governor Lalong has described the attack as a  ”barbaric act”  and directed security agencies to track down the assailants and their sponsors.

The governor, who sympathised with the victims, called for calm, urging those in Jos North council to adhere to the 24-hour curfew.

He added that the dusk-to-dawn curfew in Jos South and Bassa LGAs will remain until further notice.

In Benue, herdsmen invaded Yelewa and killed a housewife and her four children, officials said.

 “The woman was preparing supper for the little kids who were playing in the compound. Four other people were also killed during the attack,” Franc Utoo, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Samuel Ortom on Projects Monitoring said.

Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Jos North in a joint statement on Wednesday condemned the killing of innocent citizens.

The chairman of the association, Rev. Fr. Polycarp Gana and Secretary, Rev. Ezekiel Noam, condemn the killings and attacks on innocent citizens.

“This is sad, unfortunate, and worrisome. We call on clerics in the state to desist from making inciting statements but preach peace, understanding, and solidarity among the people.

“Religious leaders must stop making provocative statements at this time that we should be making efforts as leaders to assuage frayed nerves by words from the holy books which should build,  rather than further tear us apart,” the association said.