by Chi Ibe
At least 10 people have been killed in Jos following a clash between Nigerian security forces and armed Fulani herdsmen on Saturday.
A spokesman for the military Special Task Force, Salisu Mustapha, told Reuters his men engaged the Fulani herdsman, a migrant community, after they attacked local indigenous communities.
But a spokesman for the Fulani said the military instigated the violence. “It was the soldiers that first opened fire,” Miyetti Allah, chairman of the Plateau cattle association, told Reuters.
“The soldiers were being used by the government because we are in war with the tribes of the governor.”
Mustapha denied his troops started the violence.
Plateau State Information Commissioner Abraham Yiljap confirmed the death toll of at least 10.
Plateau has for more than a decade been a tinderbox of ethnic and religious rivalries over land and power between local people and migrants from other areas. Hundreds have been killed in ethnic clashes in Jos in recent years.
Islamist sect Boko Haram has claimed several suicide bomb attacks on churches in Jos this year, prompting a Christian backlash against Muslims.
Security experts believe Boko Haram’s attacks on churches in central and northern Nigeria are an attempt to provoke a wider religious conflict inside Africa’s biggest oil producer.