Sectarian massacre in Nigeria’s Plateau state


Nigerian authorities imposed a curfew in Jos, capital of north-central Plateau state, after at least 20 Muslim travelers passing through the city were massacred by a presumed Christian militia Aug. 14. The Muslims, mostly of the Fulani ethnicity, were in a convoy of vehicles, returning to their homes in Ondo and Ekiti states from a celebration in neighboring Bauchi state marking the start of Muharram, the Islamic new year. In Jos, the convoy was caught in a traffic jam, and the vehicles set upon by militiamen—the occupants slain with machetes, daggers and other weapons. The assailants were apparently Christians of the Irigwe ethnicity. Northern and central Nigeria have for years seen growing violence between Muslim semi-nomadic herders and Christian farmers over control of land and water.

However, authorities are saying that this attack was not spontaneous, but planned in advance. “It is clear this was a well-conceived and pre-arranged assault on a known target, location and religious persuasion of the travellers, not an opportunist ambush,” President Muhammadu Buhari said. Several arrests have been made. (BBC News, ReutersWION, Sahara Reporters, Daily Trust, Abuja)

Map: Perry-Castañeda Library

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