Over 500 massacred in Nigerian clashes
Army put on alert after Sunday’s sectarian slaughter; eyewitnesses say militants broke into homes, cutting human beings, including children and women, with knives and cutlasses
Lagos: Over 500 people were killed on Sunday in communal clashes near Nigeria’s city of Jos, a state governor’s advisor told AFP on Monday.
“We have been able to make 95 arrests but over 500 people have been killed in this heinous act... by Fulani herdsmen,” Dan Manjang said in a telephone interview.
The Muslim herdsmen raided three mostly Christian villages, hacking to death people at random.
Witnesses in the village of Dogo Nahawa said that Hausa-Fulani tribesmen descended from the hills, firing shots in the air. When people ran out of their homes, they were set upon with machetes or shot.
A local Christian group said the violence was an act of jihad. “Eyewitnesses say the Hausa-Fulani Muslim militants broke into homes, cutting humans, including children and women, with their knives and cutlasses,” the statement said.
"It seems the attacks were well coordinated as the attackers launched ... (them) simultaneously," Shamaki Gad Peter, head of League for Human Rights in Jos, told AFP as he toured Ratsat village.
Houses and food granaries were still smouldering more than 12 hours after the attacks, which happened in the small hours of Sunday.
Shehu Sani, a local rights activist said some fleeing residents were caught in animal traps and fishing nets set by the suspected Fulanis.
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has put the army on alert in the region, but the Christian group said it had lost faith in the military, which it says failed to respond until the attack was over.
In November 2008, the federal government sent in the troops after Christians and Muslims fought each other using firearms and machetes in clashes that followed a contested election in Jos.