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Dozens dead in triple attack on Christians by Muslims in Nigeria

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria

Over 65 people, including two politicians, have been killed in a triple attack on a Christian farming community in Plateau state, Nigeria, by Muslims.

Scene_near_Jos_4X3.jpg
Christian-owned farms were destroyed in the first attack
Jeremy Weate / CC BY 2.0

The first incident happened on Thursday morning (5 July) when Muslims destroyed 43 Christian-owned farms. Nobody was arrested. They followed this up on Saturday (7 July) with attacks on nine Christian villages around the city of Jos, killing dozens of people.  

The next day, a funeral for the victims of the village raids was attacked by Muslims. Two Christian politicians in attendance, Gyang Dantong, the senator representing Plateau North, and Gyang Fulani, the majority leader of the state assembly, were shot dead. Several other people were also killed.

Security forces said Muslim Fulani herdsmen were behind the violence but Islamist militant group Boko Haram issued a statement on Tuesday (10 July) in which they seemed to be claiming responsibility for the attacks. It said:

We thank Allah for the successful attack... in Plateau state on Christians and security men. 

A spokesman for the state’s governor said that the Muslims resented Plateau state’s Christian political leadership. The state is in Nigeria’s Middle Belt between the country’s predominantly Muslim North and mainly Christian South. It has been the scene of frequent anti-Christian violence.

A local Christian leader blamed the Nigerian government for failing to protect Christians. He said that most of the military forces in the area protect Muslim villages instead of the Christian ones.

One commentator suggested that the deaths of the politicians may drive the tensions in Jos to the top of the political agenda.

The triple attack in Plateau state comes as Christians, especially those in Northern Nigeria, are under the mounting threat of violence by Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic state there. Churches have been bombed on an almost weekly basis over the last few months, including two in Jos within the space of two weeks.

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