13 people feared killed in Nigeria''s ethnic violence

Paul Ohia

Abuja, Jan 11 (PTI) At least 13 people were fearedkilled in religious and ethnic violence in Nigeria''s remotecentral Plateau state, forcing the military to step updeployment in the troubled region.

The Nigerian military has effected a heavy deploymentto some remote parts of central Plateau State where 13 personswere feared killed by rampaging Muslims of ethnic Fulaniorigin, reports said.

The village where the alleged attack had taken placeis called Wareng and is inhabited mostly by Christians ofethnic Berom.

It is located several kilometers away from Jos wherereligious uprisings and bomb blasts have claimed hundreds oflives in recent times.

Last Christmas eve, a bomb blast within the cityclaimed more than 80 lives while more than 100 were injured.

The aftermath of the bombing was a riot between Muslimand Christian youths which also claimed scores of livescausing mass migration from the city.

Though a religious sect accused of regular killings innorthern Nigeria, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for thebombing, observers say politicians may be responsible for theattack.

Mid last year, three Muslim Fulani herdsmen werehacked down by unknown persons and this led to a reprisalattack when an angry mob suspected to be Muslims killedanother three.

The herdsmen were believed to have been killed byethnic Beroms who are mostly Christians while they weresearching for lost cattle.

Jos, the capital of Plateau State has witnessed seriesof sectarian clashes in the recent past causing the governmentto place a dusk to dawn curfew in the area at a point.

From 2008 to the present time, thousands of peoplehave lost their lives in the region and a fracas in March lastyear alone claimed more than 500 lives.

The country�s President Goodluck Jonathan has promisedto halt the killings which are mostly motivated by fight forcontrol of fertile lands but the violence has spilled into theelection year where he would stand as a candidate.

General elections are due for April and analysts fearlocal politicians could exploit the division to cause moretension in the area.

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