1,000 killed in North Central, HRW says
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.