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Over 40 Killed by Gunmen in Nigeria

Over 40 Killed by Gunmen in Nigeria

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NEW DELHI, May 21: Gunmen riding motorbikes killed around 40 people in a raid on a mining community in north-central Nigeria, opening fire on residents and torching homes, the local government said on Tuesday.

The attack late on Monday on Wase district in Plateau State was the latest violence in an area which has long been a flashpoint for disputes over resources and for outbreaks of inter-communal clashes. It was the second such holocaust in the region in the current year.

Armed men invaded Zurak community, shooting sporadically and torching houses, Plateau State commissioner for information Musa Ibrahim Ashoms said. “As we speak, about 40 people have been confirmed dead. Zurak is a popular mining community,” he said.

Local youth leader Shafi’i Sambo also said at least 42 people had been killed in the raid. Wase has deposits of zinc and lead, while Plateau as a whole is known for its tin mining industry.

Sitting on the dividing line between Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south, Plateau often sees outbreaks of violence sparked by disputes between nomadic herders and pastoral farmers.

Climate change has also helped escalate tensions over grazing land, water access and other resources such as the State’s metal reserves. Parts of northwest and north-central Nigeria have also been terrorised by heavily armed criminal gangs, who raid villages to loot and carry out mass kidnappings for ransom.

In January, inter-communal clashes erupted in Plateau’s Mangu town that left churches and mosques burned, more than 50 people dead and thousands displaced.

(Manas Dasgupta)



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