Over 115 people, including a federal senator and a state parliamentarian, have been killed in central Nigeria in the last two days with herdsmen from the Fulani tribe besieging and raiding Christian villages near conflict-prone Jos city, prompting violent clashes.
Those killed today were attending the funeral of 63 other people killed earlier yesterday in Karkuruk village in Barkin Ladi local government area when the assailants returned to kill more people with guns and machetes.
Chairman of Barkain Ladi Local Government Emmanuel Lomang, and member representing Barakin Ladi/Riyom in the House of Representatives Simon Mwadkom, narrowly escaped death today.
Mwadkom was wounded and lying unconscious in the hospital at Barakin Ladi General Hospital.
After the attack on funeral attendees, some 50 bodies were also discovered burnt in the house of a pastor of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) in Matse village in Riyom Local Government Area of the state.
The discovery of the bodies brought the total number of deaths since yesterday to 115 including that of the lawmakers.
Details of how the lawmakers were killed is still sketchy but villagers said gunmen descended from the hills at Matse as they were conducting the burial and closed in on them.
Police spokesman in the state Emmanuel Abu, confirmed the development but said “I have no details yet on how they were killed” Immediately the news filtered out, youths blocked the Jos – Abuja highway, burning tyres, and this was followed by gunshots.
The police evacuated women and children and older people from the villages for fear of another attack by the gunmen.
According to the Red Cross and a civil society group, 100 persons were displaced in 13 villages which are mostly Christian-dominated.
Earlier, the spokesman for the military in the area, Mustapha Salisu had said the incident attracted the Joint Task Force (JTF) which is stationed in the conflict prone state by the federal government.
Earlier in May, seven persons were killed when gunmen attacked the village of Tahoss near Jos setting fire to a home.
Two churches, an Islamic school and 20 other buildings were burnt down in clashes that erupted after the killing of three youths of ethnic Berom tribe by Fulani herdsmen.
The Beroms went about carrying reprisal attacks that resulted in the killing of four Fulanis, and this sparked an internecine hostility between the two ethnic groups.
Hundreds of people have died in the tribe rivalry, involving ethnic Fulanis and Beroms in Jos and areas around it.
Sometimes the clashes take religious colour, given the fact that a majority of the Fulanis are Muslims while the Beroms are mostly Christians.