Nigeria: 16 killed in Christian village

Unidentified gunmen attacked the farming village in Bauchi, killing 16.

Last Updated: May 07, 2011, 10:38 AM IST

Kano: At least 16 people were killed in a pre-dawn attack on Friday in a Christian village in northern Nigeria beset by ethnic and sectarian violence, police said.

Unidentified gunmen attacked the farming village in Bauchi state, one of the worst hit states by post election riots last month, killing 16 residents and burning 20 houses.

"There was an attack on Kurum village by unknown gunmen and from reports reaching me 16 people have been killed and 20 houses burnt in the attack," Amama Abakasanga, Bauchi state police commissioner, said by telephone from Bauchi.

The area which came under attack is in Borogo local government area and along the border with violence-wracked Plateau state, whose capital Jos has been a flashpoint of sectarian unrest.

Police have deployed in the area to prevent escalation of violence in this region, notorious for clashes pitting predominantly Christian farmers and Fulani Muslim nomads.

Bauchi state is predominantly Muslim but neighbouring Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa districts are inhabited by mainly Christians of the Sayawa tribe. Muslim Fulani nomads are in the minority there but ethnic and religious tensions and animosity between the two groups have remained high.

In January, a billiard dispute between a Christian owner and a Muslim player in Tafawa Balewa led to bloody clashes that left over 30 people dead and saw the destruction of 50 houses and a mosque.

Fulani residents fled the area and resorted to nocturnal attacks on Sayawa villages in reprisals which drew revenge attacks by the Sayawa on neighbouring Fulani villages and settlements.

Police said no arrests had been made yet over the latest attack.

"We are yet to identify the attackers but the problem of the people in the area is that they are not willing to live in peace," Abakasanga said.

Bureau Report