| 24 July 2024, Wednesday |

Gunmen attack village, kill dozens in northwest Nigeria

In Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria, where herder-farmer conflict is frequent, gunmen who are thought to be Fulani herders have killed 33 people, a local official told AFP on Tuesday.

Around 1900 GMT on Saturday, the attackers attacked Runji village in the Zangon Kataf district, shooting at locals and setting homes on fire as they fled, according to Francis Sani, the administrative chairman for the Zangon Kataf region.

“We buried 33 people killed in the attack on Sunday, including women and children,” Sani told AFP by telephone.

“The attackers, who are no doubt Fulani herdsmen, also burnt more than 40 houses in the village before they were confronted by soldiers and vigilantes who were alerted,” he said.

Six people were also injured in the attack, which happened three days after a similar attack in nearby Atak’Njei community killed eight people, Sani added.

Insecurity will be one of a major challenges for President-elect Bola Tinubu, who won the presidential ballot in February marred by technical problems and oppostion claims of vote-rigging.

In a statement on Sunday, Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna state internal security affairs commissioner confirmed the attack in which “several lives were lost”, without giving details.

He said an unspecified number of houses were burnt and some residents injured in the attack, which he condemned as “unacceptable and unjustifiable.”

Predominantly Christian Southern Kaduna where Zangon Kataf lies is a hotbed of tit-for-tat flare-ups between Fulani herders and pastoral farmers.

The area has for several years been wracked by deadly conflict between herders and farmers over grazing and water rights.

The conflict has spiralled into broader criminality with gangs of so-called bandits, comprising mostly herders,carrying out deadly raids on villages to steal livestock, kidnap for ransom and burn homes after looting them.

There has been an increase in tit-for-tat killings between the bandits and vigilante groups set by local communities in recent times, prompting the state authorities to attempt peace negotiations.

Authorities and security analysts have expressed concern over alliances between the bandits, who are motivated by financial gains, and jihadists waging a 14-year-old insurgency in the northeast.

That conflict has killed around 40,000 people and displaced more than two million more since 2009, though militants have been pushed back from territory and towns that they once held.


  • AFP