1,000 killed in North Cen­tral, HRW says

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Musa Ab­dul­lahi Kr­ishi

More than 1,000 people have been killed in five states of North­ern Nigeria from es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence since De­cem­ber, 2013, Hu­man Rights Watch said in a re­port yes­ter­day.

The states are Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa and Taraba.

The re­port said that fail­ure of Nige­rian au­thor­i­ties to in­ves­ti­gate the at­tacks or bring those re­spon­si­ble to jus­tice is likely to ex­ac­er­bate the cy­cle of vi­o­lence in the con­flict-prone north cen­tral re­gion.

It said com­mu­nal vi­o­lence, stoked by com­pe­ti­tion be­tween lo­cal farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties and no­madic herds­men, has plagued this re­gion for many years and is spread­ing to other states in the north­ern part of the coun­try.

The re­port quoted Daniel Bekele, Africa di­rec­tor at Hu­man Rights Watch as say­ing “The lack of jus­tice for years of vi­o­lence re­sult­ing from in­ter-com­mu­nal ten­sions has cre­ated a com­bustible sit­u­a­tion.”

The Hu­man Rights Watch said it spoke to scores of dis­placed res­i­dents of af­fected com­mu­ni­ties camped at six lo­ca­tions in Makurdi, the cap­i­tal of Benue, one of the af­fected states, say­ing the vi­o­lence might spread to Zam­fara and Katsina states.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion said it an­a­lyzed the pat­tern of vi­o­lence that has en­gulfed two states in cen­tral Nigeria since 2010 and found out how lack of ac­count­abil­ity for com­mu­nal vi­o­lence and mass mur­der led to pre­ventable cy­cles of vi­o­lence and reprisal killings in those states.

The main causes of the vi­o­lence, it said, ap­pear to in­clude strug­gles around liveli­hood and iden­tity, par­tic­u­larly be­tween seden­tary farm­ers and no­madic pas­toral­ists over ac­cess to graz­ing lands.

The re­port al­leged that some af­fected state gov­ern­ments were fail­ing to im­par­tially pro­tect res­i­dents, sid­ing with one group against the other. In other cases, state gov­ern­ments were us­ing force to re­store peace, but, in­stead of quelling vi­o­lence, seemed to ex­ac­er­bate it.

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