News / Africa

1,000 Dead in Nigeria Communal Violence

A family gathers around the grave, where three murdered family members were buried together, in Jos in Nigeria's Plateau state, December 28, 2011. Armed Fulani herdsmen shot dead three members of a family in an attack in Nigeria's ethnically and religious
A family gathers around the grave, where three murdered family members were buried together, in Jos in Nigeria's Plateau state, December 28, 2011. Armed Fulani herdsmen shot dead three members of a family in an attack in Nigeria's ethnically and religious

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on Nigeria communal violence

Joe DeCapua
While attacks by the militant group Boko Haram have killed many people in northern Nigeria, communal violence is also taking a toll. The group Human Rights Watch saID since December more than one thousand people have been killed in five northern states.
 
HRW researcher Mausi Segun said that communal violence is a common occurrence.
 
“The violence has been almost on a daily basis in some places like Benue State and in a few other places you’ve had it almost on a weekly basis.”
 
Speaking from the capital Abuja, Segun said communal violence has gone on for years in northern Nigeria. But she warned it’s now spreading.
 
“A lot of it we have been able to trace to tensions between the pastoralist herdsmen, who are nomadic, and farmers who find that their farmlands and their crops have been destroyed by the cattle of the herdsmen. And then you’ll have the herdsmen, on the other hand, also complaining about killing of the cattle, which [are] really a prized treasure to them,” she said.
 
Segun said that violence begets violence in northern Nigeria.
 
“There might be revenge killings very soon because we can sense the frustration of the people that there is no justice. There is no accountability for any of these attacks. These are very vicious crimes that have taken place. People have lost their family members, their limbs and property.”
 
Human Rights Watch agreed there is little government follow-up.
 
Segun said, “Not in any of these attacks has there been any open or comprehensive investigation of those who are responsible for the attacks. We have spoken to scores of people, who have been victims of these attacks and the recurring story is that no one from the security agencies – neither from the police – nor from the military – has been [there] to take notes and to hear from them what they saw.”
 
She said there may be a link between some of the communal violence and the militant group Boko Haram.
 
“Some of the victims that we’ve spoken to have talked about seeing individuals who they claim may not be the same herdsmen that they’re used to in their environment. They seem to be foreign to them. And so there seems to be some mercenary work going on as well. But there really isn’t much to be said on the part of the government to take steps to [put] all of this in check,” she said.
 
A few weeks ago, the Nigerian military announced that forces had been deployed to some of the areas hardest hit by the violence – particularly, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States.
 
“Unfortunately, a couple of days after that there was an attack, which has been blamed on security forces in Keana town against the Fulani community in which at least 30 people are said to have died. I’ve spoken to victims of that attack and they confirm that these are military authorities. The authorities have said they are investigating that attack,” she said.
 
Human Rights Watch has made a number of recommendations to quell the communal violence in northern Nigeria. These include establishing clear boundaries for cattle routes and grazing areas – setting-up mediation between farmers and herders on recognizing each others rights – and ensuring that those believed responsible for mass killings are promptly investigated by specially trained police and then prosecuted.
 
The group said that the “lack of justice for years of violence…has created a combustible situation.”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs