Mosques and churches have become targets of destruction in Nigeria’s central Plateau state amid escalating tensions over a fatal clash involving cattle.
The incident unfolded in Mangu, claiming the lives of eight individuals as cattle wandered onto a road, obstructing traffic and triggering a series of violent confrontations, local media reported.
The state governor has implemented a 24-hour curfew in Mangu to curb further violence. However, exceptions have been made for the solemn occasion of burials, allowing the community to bid farewell to those who lost their lives.
The central region of Plateau has unfortunately been a hotbed of inter-communal tension, frequently spilling over into religious and ethnic strife. This volatile environment is exacerbated by the unique geographical and cultural intersection where the predominantly Muslim north converges with the largely Christian south, resulting in a mosaic of diverse communities.
As the nation grapples with this challenging situation, efforts are underway to address the underlying issues contributing to such conflicts and promote a more harmonious coexistence among the various communities in Plateau State.
A media report disclosed that six mosques and two churches were burned down in the mayhem.
The violence started in Mangu, Plateau State, following an unsuccessful attempt by armed thieves to steal Fulani cattle, according to local media reports.
The chaos ensued after the cows escaped during the altercation, leading to deaths and destruction. Both the Christian and Muslim communities targeted places of worship, causing further unrest. Despite a curfew, unconfirmed reports suggest clashes continue.
Last April, a resource-based conflict between Mwaghavul farmers and Fulani herders rocked the local council, claiming over 300 lives. Schools, farmlands, livestock, houses and other properties were lost to the violence that lasted for months.
Both parties accused each other of inviting mercenaries from other places to aid what they described as “land grabbing, forceful eviction and ethnic cleansing.”