Gunmen said to be dressed as soldiers opened fire on a central Nigeria pub, killing 10 people in a region hit by waves of clashes between Christian and Muslim ethnic groups, authorities said Tuesday.
The incident occurred in the Barkin Ladi area of Plateau state late Monday and saw gunmen storm the pub then open fire aimlessly on customers, according to a military spokesman who denied soldiers were involved.
Barkin Ladi is a mainly Christian area of the region which lies on the fault line between the mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south of Africa’s most populous nation.
“The gunmen opened fire at random on customers, killing eight on the spot, while two others died later as a result of the gunshot wounds they sustained,” Captain Salisu Ibrahim Mustapha said.
“In protest to the killings, some members of the community barricaded the highway, preventing commuters from using the road.”
Some residents claimed the gunmen were wearing army uniforms, while a Christian activist from the Stefanos Foundation made the same accusation.
“There was an attack on a drinking spot in Heipan last night by five gunmen dressed in army uniform,” Mark Lipdo told AFP, referring to the neighbourhood in Barkin Ladi.
Mustapha denied any soldiers were involved. Criminals have in the past dressed as soldiers or police to carry out crimes or commit violence.
Nigeria’s Plateau state has been hit by waves of clashes that have left scores of people dead in recent years. Policies favouring ethnic groups considered to be indigenous to the area have worsened the conflict.
The violence has often involved clashes between mainly Christian Beroms and Hausa-Fulani Muslims.
However, in addition to the ethnic clashes, Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has also carried out a number of attacks in the region as part of its insurgency. – AFP