More than 30 people have been killed in ethnic clashes between herdsmen and farmers in central Nigeria's Plateau state, local officials stated.
Plateau State Information and Communications Commissioner Dan Manjang declared on Tuesday that the deadly violence on Monday erupted between herdsmen, who are mostly Muslims, and farmers, who are mostly Christians, suggesting ethnic clashes.
The region, which is located on the dividing line between the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria and the predominantly Christian south of the country, has been struggling to deal with ethnic and religious clashes for years.
Police said that violence broke out in various villages in Bwoi and in Mangu district.
Police spokesman Alfred Alabo said "a distress call was received" around noon time with a report of gunmen "shooting sporadically".
He said in a statement that security officials were deployed to the area, where they clashed with "hoodlums" - a term used in Nigeria to describe criminals.
Violence in north-west and central Nigeria has escalated from small-scale killings to wider crimes, with armed gangs reportedly attacking villages and committing mass kidnappings and looting.
"As we speak, the culprits are on the run while our officers are still on their trail with the aim to ensure that they are neutralized and if possible, arrested," Alabo added.
He further noted that the chairman of the Mangu district has imposed a 24-hour curfew "to ensure that the crisis does not escalate to other areas."
Nearly 50 people were killed last month when gunmen attacked a village in neighboring Benue state, violence that local officials blamed on herdsmen.
Benue has suffered the most amid inter-communal conflicts between farmers and herdsmen who are accused of destroying agricultural land by grazing their cattle.
President-elect Bola Tinubu, who will take over the helm of Africa's most populous country later this month, faces multiple security challenges.
The military is fighting a 14-year-old insurgency by terrorist groups in the northeast, separatist tensions in the southeast, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and kidnappings by armed criminals across the country.
Violence has increased in the past few weeks after a brief lull in presidential and gubernatorial elections in February and March.
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