JOS, Nigeria (Reuters) - Gunmen opened fire on four villages in central Nigeria early on Tuesday, killing 37 people in the latest tit-for-tat violence in ethnically and religiously divided Plateau state.
Hundreds have been killed in the past year in clashes pitting the cattle-herding and largely Muslim Fulani people against settled communities like the Berom in Plateau.
The attack "took place in four communities simultaneously," at 1.30 a.m. (0030 GMT) on Tuesday, said Captain Salisu Ibrahim Mustafa, a spokesman for the military Special Task Force (STF) for Plateau. The four were Dawuru, Tashu, Doron and Gurabok.
He did not have further details, other than that the victims were largely Berom.
Violence often flares in the Middle Belt, fuelled by decades- old land disputes between semi-nomadic, cattle-keeping communities such as the Fulani and settled farming peoples like the Berom, both often armed with automatic weapons.
Such battles, far from economic centers or oil fields in Africa's second-biggest economy and top oil producer, rarely capture the attention of its elites.
(Reporting by Isa Abdulsalami; Writing by Tim Cocks)