Death toll in Nigerian attack tops 130

The reports of victims of attacks launched last week by armed men in northwest Nigeria has increased to over 130 dead, said the state governor of Kantuna, who spoke about ethnic motives. “The latest information available to us speaks of over 130 people dead,” said Governor Nasir El Rufay.

Kantuna State Police Chief, Ahmad Abdullahman, who took part in the meeting, said eleven people were arrested. The previous report of the attacks against eight villages in the Katsurou area announced on Friday, spoke of 66 deaths.

The government “asks the heads of communities, tribes and religious groups in the area to avoid any retaliation and trust the security forces and the justice to find the criminals” who committed the assault, was demanded by Rufai.

A spokesman for the Christian community Antara, which is the majority in the region, said repeated attacks of Islamists have been recorded over the last three years. At the weekend, the governor said the victims were Muslim Pell. The Christian community, however, denied that attacks were being made against the ethnic group.

The state of Kantuna is often tested by armed groups; it is a particularly unstable region where groups of rustlers and armed groups of religious extremists are active. In 2018, the area suffered many bloody incidents in the states of Zamfara, Kantuna and Katsina, where gangs sowed panic and massed kidnappings for ransom.

Nigeria, a giant state of 190 million, is preparing to vote on Saturday, with a week’s delay, to elect its next president. Kantuna was turned into a theater of widespread violent incidents in 2011, when many Christians were killed after the defeat of the Muslim candidate, former General Mohammad Bukhari, by Christian Goodluck Jonathan.

The country’s new president, Bukhari, is on Saturday going against Atiku Abubbaqar, another member of the Hausa tribe from the north, in an electoral run that is terribly ambiguous and tense.