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Friday, 29 June, 2001, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Up to 50,000 displaced in Nigeria
Tiv militia
Tiv militia have been fighting with other ethnic groups
By Barnaby Phillips in central Nigeria

The Nigerian Red Cross estimates that between 40,000 and 50,000 people have been displaced during ethnic fighting in the central part of the country.

On the road
People have been fleeing by any means
A Red Cross team said this after spending a week on a special assessment mission to the areas of Nasarawa state that are worst affected by the fighting between the Tiv people and several smaller ethnic groups.

The Nigerian Red Cross, working in collaboration with the International Red Cross, says that 9,000 people are in refugee camps.

Most of the displaced are seeking shelter with friends and family in areas not affected by fighting.

Scores feared dead

Some aid agency sources have speculated that up to 200 people have died in the clashes, but the Red Cross says it is not in a position to substantiate this figure.

On Thursday, the BBC saw evidence of widespread killings in just one village, where local leaders say that more than 50 people had died.

The Tiv and other ethnic minorities are competing for land and local political supremacy.

Violence erupted two weeks ago after the Tivs were accused of killing a prominent Hausa-speaking chief.

The Red Cross says it hopes that the conflict is now dying down, but says it cannot yet be certain of this.

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See also:

23 Jun 01 | Africa
Thousands flee Nigeria clashes
20 Apr 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Nigeria
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