Dozens buried in mass graves …as survivors flee Nigeria’s Plateau attack
Dozens of bodies have been buried in a mass grave following an attack on a community in Nigeria’s Plateau state with many survivors fleeing the area.
Residents of Mwaghavul, a farming community in Mangu area of central Nigeria, told the BBC the assailants charged into their villages on Tuesday, shot indiscriminately before torching buildings.
A community leader told the BBC that “the gunmen invaded up to 17 villages” and that there were at least 85 people who died.
Deborah Samuel, a resident who escaped after hearing gunshots while at a market, said her father-in-law and four of her husband’s younger brothers were killed.
“We suddenly started hearing gunshots from different angles. We started running. I am still in pain of what has happened,” she said, cuddling her months-old baby.
Some of those who fled the attack have taken refuge at a private-run camp for internally displaced people. It is unclear what caused the attack, but some residents suggest it’s a reprisal to a strike on a Fulani community in the past months.
Competition for land resources has often resulted in ethnic clashes between pastoralists and farmers.
Two kidnapped US embassy staff have been rescued unharmed in Nigeria, say police, days after seven other people travelling in the same convoy were killed.
The attack happened on Tuesday in the south-eastern district of Ogbaru, which has been under curfew for the past year because of safety concerns.
A local official says the assailants shot at the vehicles and torched them, burning the dead beyond recognition. It is not clear who the gunmen were.
Some officials are blaming Igbo separatists’ fighters from the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group, who are known to operate in this region. IPOB has not commented on the allegations.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who leaves office later this month after pledging and failing to end Nigeria’s security crisis, says his government is “committed to fishing out” the culprits behind Tuesday’s attack.