Curfew in North-Central Nigeria State After More Violence

Nigerian officials declared a curfew on Tuesday in parts of a north-central Nigerian state after more attacks amid a recent surge in intercommunal violence.

Plateau State governor Caleb Mutfwang ordered the 24-hour lockdown in Mangu local government district to try to control deteriorating security, his spokesman said in a statement.

“Only persons on essential duties are allowed to move within the local government area until further notice,” it said.

Officials gave no details or toll for the latest violence.

“Our men have been deployed to bring the situation down. We are yet to get actual number of casualties,” local military spokesman Captain Oya James said.

Sitting on the division between Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south, Plateau often faces outbreaks in ethnic and religious tensions.

Over Christmas, nearly 200 people were killed after gunmen raided mostly Christian villages in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi local areas of Plateau.

Thousands of people were also forced from their homes.

The coalition of Muslim herders’ groups said some of their communities were also affected by the Christmas violence.

No more details of the latest attacks were available.

But clashes in Nigeria’s northwest and north-central states have their roots in tensions over land between nomadic herders and pastoral farmers.

Competition for natural resources, intensified by rapid population growth and climate pressures, has spiralled into broader criminality.

Heavily armed gangs known locally as bandits raid villages especially in the northwest states, looting and kidnapping for ransom.

Rural villages often form self-defense vigilante groups to protect themselves and their farms from raids.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has made improving security a priority since coming to office last year, as he seeks to encourage foreign investment in Africa’s most populous country.

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