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Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Nigeria clashes leave 100 dead

More than 100 people have died in five weeks of bloody clashes in the central Nigeria state of Nasarawa.

Giving the first official death toll of the conflict, a police spokesman in the state capital Lafia, Sunday Peter Audu, said: "Not less than 100 people, including six policemen, died in the ethnic unrest."

Fifty-three, he said, were killed in a massacre in Tudun Adabu village, adding that scores died in other incidents but the exact figures are unknown.


No less than 100 people, including six policemen died in the ethnic unrest

Sunday Peter Audu, Police spokesman
Medical sources,, however, told the French news agency AFP that they believe more than 200 people lost their lives in the conflict.

Hundreds more were injured in the fighting which broke out on 12 June between the Tiv ethnic group and several other Hausa-speaking groups.

Settlers

It was reportedly triggered by the murder of a prominent chief from a rival Hausa-speaking community. The Tivs were blamed for his death.

Eyewitnesses in Tudun Adabu at the time reported that young children, old women and local chiefs had been killed with machetes in an orgy of violence.

The government sent police reinforcements to the area to help control the fighting.

At least 35,000 Tiv people reportedly fled Nasarawa state, and some are now living in refugee camps to the south.

Several Hausa-speaking ethnic groups regard the Tivs as settlers.

See also:

23 Jun 01 | Africa
Thousands flee Nigeria clashes
20 Apr 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Nigeria
29 Jun 01 | Africa
Up to 50,000 displaced in Nigeria
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