Thousands fleeing mass killings in central Nigeria in need of aid

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Calls for aid increased on Friday for thousands of people displaced by violence that erupted two weeks ago in central Nigeria’s Plateau State, killing at least 170 according to a local official.

Police gave a lower death toll of 87 and said the situation was calm, in response to reports that tensions remained high after the initial attack on May 15.

The crisis is just one of the many security challenges facing President-elect Bola Tinubu who takes the helm of Africa’s most populous nation on Monday.

It remains unclear what triggered the attacks in Plateau’s Mangu district, but tit-for-tat killings between herders and farmers often spiral into village raids by heavily armed gang.

The National Emergency Management Agency said last week that more than 3 600 people were displaced, over 720 houses partially or completely destroyed and at least 216 people had been injured.

On Friday, the Nigerian Red Cross said that at least 1 000 households have fled from their villages.

Yohanna Danladi, the local Red Cross representative in Plateau State, said that some areas “have not received any support from the government so far, they are just helped by relatives.”

After a visit to the area, the UN chief in Nigeria Matthias Schmale said that “affected people and especially women and children are both traumatised and have immediate humanitarian needs such as food, water and dignity/sanitation kits.”

“While hoping the violence will now end quickly, I urge the concerned authorities to move swiftly to address immediate needs,” Schmale said in an email.

Since the initial attack, “almost every day, we still record dead bodies,” Mangu district chairman Daput Minister Daniel said.