In Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, intercommunal conflict has resulted in the deaths of numerous people in recent years. The death toll has now risen above 100 in Plateau, a state in the north-central region of Nigeria, due to fighting between farmers and herders. Locals are currently searching for more bodies in the bush. On Tuesday, gunmen attacked villages in the Mangu area and burned several houses. At least 20 people, mostly women and children, were initially estimated to have died. The violence was in response to farmers killing a herder and his cattle who had encroached on their land last month, according to local herder Bello Yahaya. Mangu local government chairman Minista Daniel Daput stated that a mass burial had been conducted for around 50 people, and locals said that another 50 would be buried on Friday. They are also searching for more missing people in the surrounding bush.
Plateau is one of Nigeria’s Middle Belt states, which are known for their ethnic and religious diversity. In recent years, intercommunal conflict has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. While the violence is often portrayed as an ethno-religious conflict between nomadic Muslim herders (mostly ethnic Fulani) and mainly Christian Indigenous farmers, experts believe that climate change and expanding agriculture have also contributed to the conflict. Makut Simon Macham, a spokesperson for Plateau’s governor, stated that authorities are assessing the situation and will prosecute suspects, but he could not provide casualty numbers.