Nigeria’s central Plateau State has seen renewed ethnic violence, ahead of crucial presidential and Assembly elections later this month. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), 5 people were killed in two separate incidents on 5th February. Three people died and two were seriously injured in an attack on the Maiyanga community, while two men were killed in a separate attack in Mabel village.
According to local reports, motorcycles carrying armed men of Fulani ethnicity descended on Maiyanga village in the evening and began shooting at people who were relaxing outside their homes. CSW cite reports that security agents alerted by villagers only arrived in Maiyanga once the militia had left.
The two attacks happened in the Bokkos region of Plateau State, where villages have been targeted by armed militia in recent months. Last November, 11 people were killed and 8 injured in an attack on the Maikatako community, in which three houses were set on fire. Nine bodies were found in a compound that was razed to the ground. Two others were shot dead and their bodies found in their burnt homes.
On 25 February, Nigerians will be voting for a President and Vice President, alongside Assembly elections for members of the Senate and House of Representatives. In its annual Persecution Trends report published last month, UK charity Release International cited growing violence and demands to divide the nation as reasons why Nigeria is a country of key concern this year.
More than 5,000 Christians were killed in 2022 in Nigeria, according to religious freedom watchdog Open Doors International.