Curfew in central Nigeria state after new attacks

New President Bola Ahmed Tinubu says tackling insecurity is a priority as the armed forces battle jihadists in the northeast.

Nigeria has imposed a 24-hour curfew in a north-central region after more tit-for-tat attacks killed at least another nine people.

The move, introduced Sunday in Mangu district in Plateau State, followed two months of clashes between nomadic herders and pastoral farmers that community leaders say have left more than 200 dead.

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Intercommunal violence often flares in Plateau, which straddles the dividing line between Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

24-hour ban

Plateau Governor Caleb Mutfwang imposed the 24-hour ban on movement after more attacks in Mangu over the weekend.

“Movements within the Local Government (area) have been banned until further notice except for security personnel and persons on essential duties,” his spokesman Gyang Bere said in a statement.

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In the latest unrest, gunman raided villages in the Sabon Gari area of Mangu Sunday, killing at least nine people in a “reprisal” attack, regional military spokesman Major James Oya told AFP.

Confirming the attack, a community leader, Jerry Datim, said gunmen attacked his village, Sabon Gari in Mangu, burning houses and destroying many other properties.

“So far, we have recovered nine dead bodies; we are still searching because some people are still missing,” he said.

Farmers blame Muslim Fulani herders for attacks on mostly Christian villages, though herdsman associations dismiss those charges and say their communities are also raided.

Plateau State chairman of Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) Nuru Abdullahi said eight Fulani settlements were attacked on Friday, leaving 15 people dead.

He blamed a local security force known as Operation Rainbow controlled by Plateau State government for the raid.

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Operation Rainbow coordinator Sitdang Mungak denied the allegations and told AFP that none of the organisation’s operatives were involved.

Army spokesman Oya said he was still confirming details of that attack.

Northwest vs central Nigeria

Northwest and central Nigeria have long struggled with violence between nomadic cattle ranchers and settled farmers, who accuse herdsmen of invading farmland with their grazing.

Those clashes have spiralled into broader criminality, as communities form armed militias to raid rival villages and carry out cattle rustling, looting and mass kidnappings for ransom.

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New President Bola Ahmed Tinubu says tackling insecurity is a priority as the armed forces battle jihadists in the northeast, bandit militias and intercommunal violence in the northwest and separatist agitation in the south.

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