Attackers killed 12 people on Wednesday March 17 morning in a small Christian village in central Nigeria, cutting out most of the victims’ tongues in the latest violence in a region where religious fighting already has claimed hundreds this year, officials have said, reports CISA.
The attack almost mirrored the tactics used by those who carried out similar massacres in Christian villages last week when more than 200 people were slaughtered.
Under the cover of darkness and a driving rain, raiders with machetes entered the village of Byie early Wednesday, setting fire to homes and firing gunshots into the air to drive frightened villagers into the night, witness Linus Vwi said.
He said the attackers spoke Fulani, a language used mostly by Muslim cattle herders in the region. Officials and witnesses blamed Fulani herders for the killings last week.
Fulani community leader Sale Bayari denied that Fulanis took part in those killings, though he said the community suffered a similar massacre recently.
According to AP, six people were wounded in the overnight raid and taken to a local hospital, said Mark Lipdo, leader of a regional Christian nonprofit group. He said attackers burned down 15 homes during the violence.
The dead included seven women, four children and one man, Lipdo said. It was unclear why attackers took the victims’ tongues.
State spokesman Gregory Yenlong appealed for calm, saying the government remained on top of the situation and would bring the attackers to justice. However, killings continue despite a dusk-till-dawn curfew in a region supposedly protected by Nigerian security forces.
Attacks this month came after more than 300 people were killed in the January violence in the nearby city of Jos and its surrounding villages.
Nigeria, a country of 150 million people, is almost evenly split between Muslims in the north and the predominantly Christian south.
The recent bloodshed has been in central Nigeria, in the nation’s "middle belt," where dozens of ethnic groups vie for control of fertile lands.
Rioting in September 2001 killed more than 1,000 people. Up to 700 people were killed in Muslim-Christian battles in 2004. More than 300 residents died during a similar uprising in 2008.
Report from the Christian Telegraph