Gunmen killed at least five people in a mainly-Christian village in Nigeria’s restive Plateau state, police said on Thursday after the latest violence between nomadic herdsmen and farmers.
“We received a report that unknown gunmen invaded Kadunung village around 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) and in the process about five people were killed and several houses burnt,” state police spokesman Emmanuel Abuh told AFP.
Local media put the death toll higher, saying 18 people were killed while up to 150 houses were razed.
Abuh said the motive for the attack on the mainly-Christian and farming village was unknown but an investigation had been launched.
“The place is now calm as our personnel have deployed to maintain law and order. No arrest has been made,” he added.
Plateau state falls on the dividing line between Nigeria’s mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north and has witnessed sporadic ethnic and religious tensions for decades.
The largely agrarian Christian communities in the state maintain the Muslim Fulani herdsmen are engaged in a prolonged battle to gobble up land from the areas of so-called indigenous people.
Fulani leaders counter their people face discrimination as “foreigners” in Plateau and are deprived of basic rights, including access to land, education and political office, despite having lived in the area for generations.
Tensions frequently boil over, with more than 10,000 people killed in the state since the turn of the century, according to groups tracking the violence.