Armed group kills 10 in central Nigeria - official

JOS, Nigeria Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:15am EST

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JOS, Nigeria Feb 22 (Reuters) - Armed men shot or hacked to death 10 people in a village in central Nigeria's Plateau state, a government official and witness said on Friday, in a region with a long history of ethnic violence.

Men carrying rifles and machetes stormed Kogom village on Thursday afternoon, killing six adults and four children, said Habila Musa, who witnessed the attack. He said some of the killers were dressed in military uniform.

State government spokesman Ayuba Pam confirmed 10 people had been killed in an attack on Thursday. The police said there had been an incident but declined to give details.

Plateau sits on the dividing line between the mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south. For years it has been a tinderbox of ethnic and religious unrest over land and power between local people and migrants from other regions.

Unrest can lead to criminal gangs carrying out violent robberies or rustling cattle in the farming region.

At least nine people were killed last month after the discovery of a corpse of a missing person sparked tit-for-tat violence between Christian and Muslim groups.

In early 2010, around 400 people were killed in a week of sectarian and ethnic bloodshed in Plateau.

Security experts believe many attacks go unreported because authorities are keen not to stoke further unrest by making them public and because of the remoteness of the areas where violence occurs.

The radical Islamist sect Boko Haram has attempted to stoke violence between Christians and Muslims in central Nigeria, bombing churches in the Plateau state capital Jos last year. (Reporting by Bello Buhari; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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