Village attack kills 5 in central Nigeria

AP News
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Posted: Aug 09, 2011 1:27 PM
Village attack kills 5 in central Nigeria

Gunmen killed five people and wounded four others in a nighttime attack on a rural village in central Nigeria, leaving the dead mutilated with machete wounds in a region where ethnic and religious violence stirs easily.

Meanwhile, authorities said two suspected members of a radical Muslim sect in northeastern Nigeria shot and killed a senior prison official and a school teacher Monday night, the latest in a series of attacks by the group.

The nighttime attack took place in Bisichi village, a Muslim community in the long-troubled state of Plateau in central Nigeria, the fault line between Nigeria's predominantly Christian south and Muslim north. Attackers used gunshots to scare villagers toward other assailants carrying machetes, said Abubakar Mohammed, the chairman of a local cattle association.

The attackers stole hundreds of heads of cattle from a village, which sits in the pasturelands and mountains of the state.

Brig. Gen. Hassan Umaru, commander of a local military force, blamed the attack on cattle rustlers. However, these sorts of attacks happen regularly between Christians and Muslims in the region.

Plateau state sits in Nigeria's "middle belt," where dozens of ethnic groups vie for control of fertile lands. Politics, jobs and land often motivate violence that falls along religious lines that has left thousands dead in recent years.

In a separate attack in Maiduguri, prison comptroller Usman Maina Kaina said Tuesday the attackers from the Boko Haram sect shot the two people in the span of an hour Monday night in the besieged city, near Nigeria's border with Cameroon, Chad and Niger. No arrests have been made in the attacks.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, is responsible for a rash of killings targeting security officers, local leaders and clerics in the area over the last year. They have also claimed responsibility for a bombing at the nation's police headquarters that killed two in June.

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Associated Press writer Njadvara Musa in Maiduguri, Nigeria contributed to this report.