Abuja: At least 37 people, including two policemen, were killed in central Nigeria on Sunday when herdsmen from the Fulani tribe besieged and raided Christian villages near conflict-prone Jos city, prompting violent clashes with a rival tribe.
The raid by ethnic Fulani herdsmen occurred in villages of the central north Plateau state, and attracted immediate attention of a Joint Task Force (JTF) stationed in the region.
The spokesman for the military in the area, Mustapha Salisu, said an exchange of fire ensued between the attackers and the force in which 14 civilians, two policemen and 21 of the herdsmen were killed and several others were injured.
According to the Red Cross and a civil society group, 100 persons were displaced in 13 villages which are mostly Christian-dominated.
Earlier in May, seven persons were killed when gunmen attacked the village of Tahoss near Jos setting fire to a home.
Two churches, an Islamic school and 20 other buildings were burnt down in clashes that erupted after the killing of three youths of ethnic Berom tribe by Fulani herdsmen.
The Beroms went about carrying reprisal attacks that resulted in the killing of four Fulanis, and this sparked an internecine hostility between the two ethnic groups.
Hundreds of people have died in the tribe rivalry, involving ethnic Fulanis and Beroms in Jos and areas around it.
Sometimes the clashes take religious colour, given the fact that a majority of the Fulanis are Muslims while the Beroms are mostly Christians.