Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Nigerian Authorities Investigate Latest Plateau State Massacre

The international community urges Nigerian authorities to intensify the investigations of recent massacres occurring in the central Plateau State, Nigeria. The most recent massacre on March, 7th killed at least 200 Christian villagers. Many of the victims were women and children. Unidentified groups of men armed with guns, machetes, and knives attacked residents of the villages of Dogo Nahawa, Zot, and Ratsat during an early morning raid March, 7th. This massacre is one of many specifically targeting Christian Nigerians in the Plateau State region.

Authorities believe the culprits are members of the Muslim Berom ethnic-based group. The massacres are thought to be in response to previous attacks against Nigerian's Muslim communities such as the January 19, 2010 raid killing over 150 Muslims. The Nigerian authorities have increased police patrol in the Plateau State due to the heightened religious-based tensions in the region. Authorities have arrested 98 in connection to the attacks thus far.

Nigeria has historically faced intense ethnic and religious animosity since the collapse of the military rule in 1999. Approximately 13,500 Nigerians have died since the government readjustment due to the ethnic- and religious-based conflicts. Human rights groups continue to stress to the Nigerian government that investigations and prosecutions must remain credible in order to properly address the root cause of the violence.

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