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Nigerian Authorities Impose Curfew on Niger State

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Joe DeCapua

In Nigeria, authorities have imposed a curfew in Niger State after ethnic and religious violence broke out Sunday night and continued Monday, killing at least 12 people.

The clashes took place in Yelwa village, not far from Jos in neighboring Plateau State, which has been the scene of similar violence in recent years.

VOA reporter Chinedu Offor, who’s following developments from the Nigerian capital Abuja, says police believe the violence is “a reprisal by Fulani herdsmen over the killing of their kinsmen and the stealing of their cows by some villagers.  The police spokesman said the attackers were armed with guns and they were shooting sporadically at all the people who lived in the village.”

Police also confirmed that a mosque in Yelwa was burned and that 6 people were abducted.  Their whereabouts and condition are unknown.  Among the dead was the Yelwa village head.

Connection?

There may be a link between the recent violence in Jos and the attack on Yelwa.

“According to police,” says Offor, “there is a connection because some of those who were attacked in Jos ran to this village and other neighboring villages across the border to escape those who were after them.  And that most of those who are now killed are those who went on a revenge mission over their relatives, who also were killed.”

There is now fear that a new round of religious and ethnic violence may erupt in the region.  Armed soldiers and police are patrolling villages in Niger State.  Yelwa village is under a dusk to dawn curfew.  The lengths of the curfews vary at other villages in Niger State.

President Goodluck Jonathan met Tuesday with the nation’s governors and security is believed to have been a top priority.

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