ABUJA — Nigeria’s president demanded late on Monday that police and the army "stop the madness" in central Plateau state after more than 20 people were killed in a new flare-up of violence.
Fulani herdsmen are suspected of killing at least 20 people last weekend with guns and explosives in the latest round of clashes in a long-running battle over grazing rights in central Nigeria.
"President Muhammadu Buhari has received with deep sadness and regret news of the recent killings of at least 20 people in Plateau state, during what has been described as a reprisal attack by some herdsmen," according to an official statement.
"This madness has gone too far. (Buhari) has instructed the military and the police to not only bring the violence to an instant end, but to draw up a plan to ensure that there are no further attacks and reprisal attacks by one group against the other," the statement added.
Nomadic Muslim Fulani herdsmen allegedly launched a series of attacks against Christian farmers, defying a curfew put in late Friday by the state’s governor after a rise in tensions between the two communities.
"Some unknown group attacked some villages in Barikin Ladi early on Saturday and killed a lot of people," according to the spokesperson of the Special Task Force in the state, Salisu Mustapha.
"The attackers came in large group and for the first time not only shot their victims but also used explosives," he added.
Plateau state falls on the dividing line between Nigeria’s mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north and has witnessed sporadic ethnic and religious tensions for decades. — AFP