Police: 30 people killed as Muslim herdsmen attack Christian village in central Nigeria

  • Article by: AHMED SAKA and HARUNA UMAR , Associated Press
  • Updated: October 17, 2012 - 12:35 PM

JOS, Nigeria - Nomadic Muslim herdsmen attacked a Christian village in central Nigeria over long-running land disputes, killing at least 30 people in their latest assault, police said Wednesday.

The attack in Benue state comes as a bomb exploded Wednesday in northeast Nigeria, apparently killing a police officer and sparking reprisal attacks by the military in the region, residents said.

In Benue state, the attack Sunday targeted a rural village of Christian Tiv people called Yogbo in the state, police spokesman Daniel Ezeala said. After the attack, those living there fled, community leader Daniel Tsenghul said.

The Tiv are one the largest of the minority ethnic groups in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people and more than 250 different ethnicities.

The Tiv and the Hausa-Fulani herdsmen have previously fought over land in Benue. In December, authorities said fighting between the two groups displaced some 5,000 people.

Meanwhile, a bomb detonated Wednesday morning in Potiskum, Yobe state, which targeted soldiers in the city trying to fight the radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram. Security forces later cordoned off large portions of the city and began a door-to-door search, state police commissioner Patrick Egbuniwe said. Residents there said they heard gunshots throughout the day as soldiers raided civilian homes. At least four homes were set ablaze by soldiers, the residents said.

No group immediately claimed the bombing, though it likely was carried out by Boko Haram, which has been waging an increasingly bloody guerrilla fight with Nigeria's weak central government. The sect is blamed for killing more than 690 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. It wants the government to release its imprisoned followers and to impose strict Shariah law across Nigeria, a country largely split between a Muslim north and a Christian south.

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Haruna Umar reported from Maiduguri, Nigeria.

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