- Nigeria has imposed a curfew following a sectarian assault.
- At the very least 23 Muslims died on Saturday.
- President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the assault.
Nigerian authorities on Sunday imposed a curfew in elements of central Plateau state, a day after a suspected Christian militia attacked a convoy of 90 Muslims, killing no less than 23.
Northwest and central Nigeria have for years struggled with violence between primarily Muslim nomadic herders and Christian farmers over management of sources, water and land.
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Condemning the assault, President Muhammadu Buhari mentioned in an announcement that this was “not an agriculturalist-on-pastoralist confrontation – however moderately a direct, brazen and wickedly motivated assault”.
On Saturday, “a bunch of attackers suspected to be Irigwe youths (predominantly Christian)… attacked a convoy of 5 buses with Muslim trustworthy,” mentioned police spokesperson Ubah Ogaba.
Police had initially mentioned 22 of the 90 travellers had been killed, however the demise toll was revised upward on Sunday.
“Twenty-three of these attacked misplaced their lives and 23 individuals sustained accidents,” state governor Simon Lalong mentioned in an announcement.
Involved about “persisting tensions and reported makes an attempt by some individuals to take the legal guidelines into their fingers”, the governor “directed the imposition of a curfew on Jos North, Bassa and Jos South”, between 18:00 and 06:00.
Police mentioned 20 suspects have been arrested whereas 33 victims have been rescued.
One of many members of the convoy who escaped, Muhammad Ibrahim, mentioned the assault occurred alongside Rukuba highway, on the outskirts of Jos, the capital of Plateau state.
The Muslims had been coming back from Bauchi State, he mentioned, after attending an occasion to rejoice the Islamic New 12 months.
“Iregwe militias attacked and used machetes, knives and stones to kill them,” mentioned Malam Nura Abdullahi, consultant of an area group representing herders, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Affiliation of Nigeria.
He mentioned the demise toll was greater.
“We’ve ready as much as 25 lifeless our bodies which might be prepared for burial,” mentioned Abdullahi.
For years, Jos was a flashpoint for ethnic strife pitting Christian and Muslim youths in opposition to one another.
In September 2001, Christian-Muslim clashes round Jos left 913 folks lifeless, in keeping with Human Rights Watch.
Whereas the governor mentioned the assault on Saturday “shouldn’t be given any ethnic or non secular colouration”, the presidency described it as a “pre-arranged assault on a recognized goal, location and spiritual persuasion of the travellers, not an opportunist ambush”.
“These sorts of assaults on our nation’s residents are unacceptable, heinous, and stand in full contradiction to the teachings of the good religions of our nation,” the presidency added.
Violence in central Nigeria is simply one of many challenges going through Africa’s most populous nation.
Safety forces are additionally battling a 12-year jihadist insurgency within the northeast, kidnap gangs within the northwest and separatist agitation within the southeast.
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