Nigeria: Fulani nomads named in attack on village

At least 30 people were killed by gunmen said to be Hausa-Fulani herdsmen in a raid on Shonong village, in Bachit district of Nigeria's Plateau state Jan. 7. (See map.) Over 40 homes were reportedly burned by the attackers, and livestock stolen. Thousands have been killed in a spiral of violence in Plateau state in recent years, rooted in land disputes between semi-nomadic Muslim Fulani herdsmen and mainly Christian Berom farmers. Plateau lies in a belt of savanna where Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north meets the Christian-majority south. (BBC News, Leadership, Abuja, via AllAfrica, Jan. 7)

In less clear circumstances, 10 others were killed that day, including four police officers, in a clash near Rigasa, Kaduna state. A police patrol was apparently ambushed after discovering two fresh corpses in the Atakad Hills, Kaura district. One week earlier, violence in Jere district of Kaduna left the Emir of Jere, Alhaji Sa'ad Usman, critically injured, and four others feared dead. (Nigeria Vanguard via AllAfrica, Jan. 7) Also last week, the Alaafin of West Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, mediated to prevent an escalation of violence after the killing of a middle-aged Fulani cattle rearer in Soku village. The Alaafin is a traditional authority of the Muslim Yoruba people in Oyo state. (Nigerian Tribune, Jan. 8)

Rights groups also warn of the increasing role of a vigilante network known as the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in the government's fight against the Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria's northeast. CJTF members patrol the streets armed with machetes, sticks, and bows and arrows, identifying Boko Haram suspects, and turning them over to the government's Joint Task Force. They have also killed some suspects themselves. Members now receive $100 per month from the Borno state government. "The CJTF commit some rights abuses and some of them act on the influence of drugs," said Husseini Hala, head of the Nigerian Bar Association in Maiduguri, Borno. But he added: "This is insignificant compared to what the insurgents are doing." (IRIN, Dec. 12)