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At least 18 people have been killed and dozens of homes burned down in an attack on a village in central Nigeria, residents and officials said on Wednesday.
Authorities confirmed that an attack on Tuesday evening targeted the village of Ansha in Plateau State, and left many people dead, without being able to determine the number.
One of the villagers said; “Our village was attacked during the night and we counted 18 dead,” deacon Ota told AFP by telephone.
“I participated in the evacuation of the corpses. The attack also left many victims, who are now receiving treatment at the local clinic,” he added.
In turn, Davidson Malleson, the local chief of the Irigoy ethnic group, to which the villagers of Ancha belong, said that “18 people were killed and six others were injured” in the attack.
He added in a statement that the attackers set fire to more than 24 houses and a number of vehicles, accusing Fulani shepherds of being behind the attack.
However, a local leader of the Fulani shepherds denounced the attack and denied the accusations made against members of his ethnic group.
In a statement, Mohamed Noro Abdallah expressed his regret “for the swift accusation brought against us whenever Irigoys are killed or attacked”.
For his part, Simon Paco Lalong, governor of Plateau State, said the attack “left many dead”, without specifying their number, denouncing “the endless series of violent attacks” in the region.
For its part, the Nigerian army confirmed that its units were deployed in the village, but that the attackers had fled before their arrival.
He added that the attack had resulted in “the destruction of houses and the murder of villagers”.
The attack is the latest in a long series of attacks in a region that has seen clashes between pastoralists and farmers for several years over disputes over grazing and water rights.
However, local officials say the recent attacks in this area are the work of criminals known locally as “bandits” and have nothing to do with natural resources.
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