At least 100 people were killed in weekend attacks on three villages in central Nigeria, local officials said Sunday.
Scores of residents were also injured when about 40 assailants armed with guns and machetes stormed the villages of Angwan Gata, Chenshyi and Angwan Sankwai, attacking locals in their sleep and torching their homes, said Yakubu Bitiyong, a lawmaker at the Kaduna state parliament.
Some of the victims “were shot and burnt in their homes while others were hacked with machetes,” Bitiyong said.
Kaduna state police spokesman Aminu Lawan confirmed the attacks but refused to give a casualty toll or say who was behind the violence.
Local residents blamed the bloodshed on Muslim Fulani herdsmen, who have been accused of similar raids in the past.
Chenshyi village was the worst affected with at least 50 people killed, said Adamu Marshall, a spokesman for the Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union, a regional political and cultural body.
Fulani leaders have for years complained about the loss of grazing land which is crucial to their livelihood, with resentment between the herdsmen and their agrarian neighbours rising over the past decade.
Most of the Fulani-linked violence has been concentrated in the religiously divided centre of the country, where rivalries between mostly Muslim herdsmen and mostly Christian farmers have helped fuel the unrest.