Cattle rustlers kill four in Niger state

Cattle RustlersSuspected Fulani cattle rustlers killed four people, including a policeman and a village chief, police said Thursday, in the latest bloodshed in a restive part of central Nigeria.

“The incident happened on Tuesday night at Alawa village in Shiroro local government area of (Niger) state,” police spokesman Bala Elkana told AFP.

“The invaders were suspected Fulani cattle rustlers. They killed four people, including a police inspector, the village head and injured two others,” he said.

Elkana said police had been deployed to the area.

Niger state is part of Nigeria’s so-called Middle Belt, where the mainly Christian south meets the predominately Muslim north.

The Fulani ethnic group, who are mostly Muslim, have been blamed for waves of attacks on largely Christian agrarian groups. Tensions run high over access to land and other basic rights.

Fulani groups have in turn accused local farmers of stealing their cattle.

Thousands have been killed in communal strife in central Nigeria in recent years.

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