Lagos, Nigeria map
Lagos, Nigeria map

Gunmen in northern Nigeria opened fire at a mass burial on Sunday, killing more than 20 people, including two politicians.

The politicians “went for the burial, and then gunmen were there, and then they killed them,” said Hafsat Baba, the national women’s leader for the political party Action Congress of Nigeria.

The two politicians who were killed, Senator Gyang Dantong and the Majority Leader of the Plateau State Assembly, Gyang Fulani, were attending the burial of about 50 who had been shot dead by armed gangs in two villages near Jos on Saturday.

The Kaduna-based Baba said there are reports that different ethnic groups are blaming each other for the violence.  There is tension in the region between Muslim Fulani herdsman and Birom agriculturalists.  Though authorities suspect the gunmen were Fulani, the Fulani have accused local security forces.

“This group is blaming the other group and also blaming the security agents,” Baba said.  “It’s really very difficult because nobody has actually claimed responsibility.”

“Definitely we’ll have a lot of casualties, but because these two are more prominent, their names will come out first,” Baba said, referring to the politicians.  “Later on, we’ll know the number of people who actually lost their lives.”

“The insecurity is really becoming so alarming that nobody has been brought to book up till now and lots of people are losing their lives by the day,” said Baba.

Northern Nigeria politician Hafsat Baba talks to Ricci Shryock about the area's increasing violence