A group of machete wielding men besieged a remote village close to the crises prone Nigeria’s north-central city of Jos in Plateau State and killed eight Christians.
The men, suspected to be Muslims, arrived at the village of Mazah early in the morning and frightened the people by shooting into the air sporadically, police said.
When the villagers, belonging to the Anagutas ethnic group, ran out of their homes, they were attacked with machetes.
While some died instantly others sustained serious injuries. The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals as soon as the attackers took to their heels.
“It was at about 1:30 am when I heard a knock on my door. I went and opened but did not see anybody, so I went back into the house. A few minutes later we started hearing sporadic gun shots.
“It was then I escaped into the farmland near my house, but my family was not fortunate enough to escape too, my wife, daughter, son and grandson have all been killed,” Rev Nuhu Dawat, a Christian cleric who lost his wife, two children, and a grandson, told reporters.
Confirming the attack, State Police Commissioner Gregory Anyating said the police was doing its best to avoid re-occurrence and spread of violence.
“We are trying to know the cause for this attack and avoid a spread,” he said, adding troops have started arriving at the area of conflict.
Spokesman for the military Special Task Force (STF), which has been sent to Jos to keep peace by the country’s federal government, Col Kingsley Umoh told PTI on phone: “The new development is unfortunate and it has revealed the fragile nature of the peace we have here in Jos, the identity of the attackers are not yet known, relevant authorities are trying to ascertain their identity.”
Last Wednesday, similar clashes between Muslims and Christians claimed eight lives even as some mosques and churches were burnt down in Wukari, a town in Nigeria’s northern state of Taraba.
Plateau state is well known for frequent religious clashes between the members of the two religions.
More than 1,500 have died in ethnic and religious related clashes within the state this year.
Nigeria’s 150 million population is shared equally among the Muslim and the Christians and they live side by side in several cities and villages.