At least 160 people are killed in attacks in central Nigeria

Local government officials reported on Monday that armed gangs killed at least 160 people in a series of attacks on villages in central Nigeria.

The death toll increased dramatically from the initial total given by the army on Sunday evening of only 16 dead in a region plagued for years by religious and ethnic strife.

“As many as 113 people have been confirmed killed as Saturday hostilities continued into the early hours of Monday,” said Monday Kassah, leader of the local government in Bokkos, Plateau State.

Military gangs, known locally as “bandits,” committed “well-coordinated” raids in “at least 20 different communities” and destroyed houses, according to Kassah.

“We found over 300 wounded people,” he claimed, adding that they were taken to hospitals in Bokkos, Jos, and Barkin Ladi.

The local Red Cross recorded 104 deaths in 18 communities in the Bokkos region, according to a preliminary toll.

According to Dickson Chollom, a member of the state parliament, at least 50 people were also reported killed in different communities in the Barkin Ladi district.

He denounced the attacks and urged security forces to act quickly.

“We will not succumb to the tactics of these death merchants.” “We are all working for justice and lasting peace,” Chollom remarked.

– ‘Barbaric’

According to local chairman Danjuma Dakil, the attacks began in the Bokkos area and spread to neighboring Barkin Ladi, where 30 people were found dead.

Plateau State Governor Caleb Mutfwang condemned the violence as “barbaric, brutal, and unjustified” on Sunday.

“The government will take proactive measures to reduce ongoing attacks against innocent civilians,” said Gyang Bere, the governor’s spokesperson.

According to a source in the region, gunfire could still be heard late Monday afternoon, dividing Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

According to Markus Amorudu, a resident of Mushu village, shots were fired while people were sleeping.

“We were terrified because we hadn’t expected an attack.” People fled, but the attackers apprehended several of us; some were killed, while others were injured,” he told AFP.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Amnesty International slammed the government, claiming that “the Nigerian authorities have been failing to end frequent deadly attacks on rural communities in Plateau state,” in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Bandit militias have long terrorized Northwest and Central Nigeria, operating from deep in the bush and raiding villages to pillage and kidnap citizens for ransom.

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