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Black Christmas in Plateau

The death toll in weekend attacks in the central Nigerian state of Plateau has risen to 150, a local official said on Monday, in a region where clashes between herders and farmers are common.

It is the worst outbreak of violence in Plateau since May, when more than 100 people were killed in farmer-herder attacks.

AFP News Agency had cited the Nigerian army on Sunday as saying 16 people were killed in the latest attacks.

The acting chairman of Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State, Monday Kassah, said 113 people had been killed in the attacks on Saturday and Sunday.

“The attacks were well coordinated. Not fewer than 20 different communities were attacked by the bandits,” he said.

“We have recovered 113 dead bodies from those communities. We have recovered more than 300 injured.”

Kassah did not say who was responsible for the attacks. He added that the injured had been taken to hospital.

A Plateau police spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Plateau is one of several ethnically and religiously diverse hinterland states known as Nigeria’s Middle Belt, where inter-communal conflict has claimed hundreds of lives in recent years.

The violence is often painted as ethno-religious conflict between Muslim herders and mainly Christian farmers. But these attacks not the first in a Christian festival period gives more credence to the religious undertones.

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