Gunmen kill 30 in central Nigerian village attack

JOS, Nigeria Mon Jan 6, 2014 4:52pm EST

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JOS, Nigeria (Reuters) - Gunmen killed 30 people in a village in central Nigeria on Monday, officials said, in a religiously-mixed region with a long history of ethnic and communal violence.

Violence in central Nigeria is frequently fuelled by long-running land disputes between semi-nomadic communities like the Muslim Fulani and farming settlers including mainly Christian Berom, both often armed with automatic weapons.

Gunmen stormed the majority-Berom Shonong village in the Riyom local government area in the early hours, opening fire on residents and torching dozens of houses to the ground, a member of the state house of assembly Daniel Dem told Reuters.

A spokesman for the local military confirmed the attack, but said it was too early to give a death toll.

Thousands have been killed in the last three years in tit-for-tat clashes between rival ethnic groups in the "Middle Belt", where the largely Christian south meets the mostly Muslim north in Africa's most populous nation.

Such battles, far from economic centers or oilfields in Africa's second-biggest economy and top oil producer, are largely ignored by central government, rights groups say.

(Reporting by Buhari Bello; Additional reporting by Isaac Abrak in Kaduna; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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