Lagos – Weekend raids by gunmen in Nigeria’s central Plateau state left more than 100 people dead, including a senator and state lawmaker, the governor’s spokesperson Pam Ayuba said on Monday. At least 80 died when attackers from the Fulani ethnic group raided several villages on Saturday, while at least 22 others were killed on Sunday when gunmen stormed the funeral of those killed a day earlier, said Ayuba.
Both Ayuba and the state police spokesperson Abuh Emmanuel said the graveyard attack was also carried out by the Fulani, a pastoralist tribe with long-standing grievances over land rights. The Fulani conflict also has a religious dimension, as the Muslim herdsmen have complained of being marginalised by members of the Birom, Christian ethnic group, who largely control political power in the state.
The two politicians killed on Sunday – federal senator Gyang Dantong and state lawmaker Gyang Fulani – were both members of the Birom group, officials and police said. After news of their killing spread, mobs set up roadblocks in the chronically troubled state, prompting Governor Jonah Jang to impose an immediate dusk-to-dawn curfew in four areas.
That curfew was extended on Monday, with residents in the affected areas only allowed out between midday and sundown, Ayuba said.
“The purpose is to achieve calmness,” he explained.