Escalating violence across five states in central Nigeria has killed more than 1,000 people since December 2013, Human Rights Watch said today.
The failure of Nigerian authorities to investigate the attacks or bring those responsible to justice is likely to exacerbate the cycle of violence in the conflict-prone north central region.
Communal violence, stoked by competition between local farming communities and nomadic herdsmen, has plagued this region for many years and is spreading to other states in northern Nigeria.
“The lack of justice for years of violence resulting from inter-communal tensions has created a combustible situation,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government needs to ensure full criminal investigations and provide justice for the victims and their families.”
Adding to the overall tension in the central region, a bomb explosion on April 14, 2014, killed more than 71 people and injured hundreds others in Nyanya, in the Abuja suburbs. The attack, occurring during an early morning peak period and at a usually crowded commuter motor park, appeared aimed at achieving a high casualty rate. Nyanya is in Nasarawa state, one of the states affected by communal violence, though it did not immediately seem to be connected to those conflicts.
The recent conflicts have taken a very high toll in lives and livelihoods and led to the displacement of hundreds of people, who have sought refuge in neighboring urban areas.