Communal clashes in Nigeria kill at least 39

By REUTERS
May 4, 2013 23:57

ABUJA, Nigeria - Clashes between rival ethnic groups have killed at least 39 people in eastern Nigeria's Taraba state since they erupted on Friday, police said.

Members of the Jukun were marching through the small commercial town of Wukari to a funeral when an argument broke out with local Hausa and Fulani youths, which quickly degenerated into pitched battles with guns and machetes.

Attackers set fire to around 40 houses, police said.

"At the end of the clash, 39 people were counted killed," said the police spokesman for Taraba state, Joseph Kwaji.

He said that 32 people were injured and 40 were arrested.

Taraba state is part of a volatile "Middle Belt" where Nigeria's largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north meet. Violence often flares in the Middle Belt over land disputes between semi-nomadic, cattle-keeping communities such as the Fulani and settled farming peoples like the Jukun.


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