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Attack in Central Nigeria Leaves 154 People Dead, 4800 Displaced

Attack in Central Nigeria Leaves 154 People Dead, 4800 Displaced
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By Staff, Agencies

The death toll from attacks on villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state has soared to 154 and an estimated 4,800 people have fled their homes fearing further violence.

Villagers were attacked by militants on motorbikes who shot sporadically into homes and businesses during the rampage on Sunday in central Plateau state.

Houses and shops were burned to the ground and people who tried to flee and hide were pursued and shot, their bodies only being discovered in past days, local officials said.

“All in all we have in our records [the number] of those killed at 154, including those found in bushes,” said Ya’u Abubakar, a senior councilor of Garga rural district in the Kanem local government area of Plateau.

The death toll is now three times higher than initially reported.

Abubakar said mass burials were underway as shocked communities in the area tried to come to terms with the slaughter. Soldiers have been deployed to pursue the gunmen.

Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed told reporters that armed criminal gangs and Boko Haram terrorists were responsible for the attacks.

Locally known as bandits, these criminal gangs have terrorized villagers for years through kidnappings for ransom. They have recently become more brutal, killing and pillaging communities where state security agents are rarely seen. Such attacks are not common in Plateau state, officials said.

More than 4,800 people have fled their homes following the attacks on the five villages in central Plateau state.

Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Sadiya Umar Farouq said she ordered immediate deployment of relief materials including food, water, blankets and sleeping nets to the displaced victims.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with 206 million people, has been battling violence in its troubled north.