Abuja: At least seven people were brutally killed in central Nigeria when gunmen set fire to a home in a Christian village, violently divided by faith, and shot those who ran outside to flee the flames, media reported on Thursday.
According to reports the killings that took place late Wednesday night happened in the village of Tahoss, said Mark Lipdo, who runs a Christian advocacy group known as the Stefanos Foundation.
Lipdo said that the gunmen, suspected to be from the Muslim Fulani herdsmen who roam the pasturelands of the plateau, targeted one specific family in their attack.
Local police spokesman Samuel Dabai said that he visited Tahoss and saw the corpses. Dabai said police had begun an investigation into the attack.
The attack represents the latest killings spiraling out of unrest between Christians and Muslims living around the city of Jos, an area that has seen thousands killed in the last decade in fighting. That violence continues to go further and further out into rural villages, a potential sign that killings could again rage out of control.
Jos and surrounding Plateau state have been torn apart in recent years by violence pitting its different ethnic groups and major religions — Christianity and Islam — against each other.
Human Rights Watch says at least 1,000 people were killed in communal clashes around Jos in 2010.
The government of Plateau state is controlled by Christian politicians who have blocked Muslims from being legally recognized as citizens. That has locked many out of prized government jobs in a region where the tourism industry and tin mining have collapsed in recent decades.
Muslim herdsmen often carry out unprovoked attacks against Christian farmers over grazing and their cattle.
Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people, is largely divided into a Christian south and a Muslim north.