Nigeria violence: Plateau politicians die at funeral


Two Nigerian politicians have died during an attack on a funeral for victims of communal violence that led to at least 37 deaths on Saturday.

The military said the funeral assault and Saturday's attacks on Christian villages near Jos in Plateau state were probably carried out by the same men.

Muslim herdsmen from the Fulani ethnic group were blamed for the violence, but they denied any wrongdoing.

The state governor has now imposed an overnight curfew.

The BBC's Will Ross in Lagos says the victims of Saturday's attacks were from the Christian Berom ethnic group.

The community has been caught up in a cycle of violence with Fulani herdsmen, stemming from a disagreement as to who are the rightful inhabitants of the land in Plateau state, he says.

'Died from shock'

The politicians who died were named locally as Gyang Dantong, a senator with the ruling PDP, and state assembly leader Gyang Fulani.

Both were believed to be Christian.

Witnesses and colleagues of the politicians said the two were killed by the gunmen, but a military spokesman later claimed that they had both died from shock.

Some unconfirmed reports also said about 20 people were killed in the funeral attack.

Earlier, the military said a total of 37 people were killed on Saturday, including two policemen, about 21 of the attackers and 14 Christian villagers.

But other sources put the death toll much higher and reported piles of burnt bodies being discovered.

Plateau state lies on the fault line between Nigeria's mainly Muslim north and Christian and animist south.

Human Rights Watch says about 1,000 people were killed in communal clashes around Jos during 2010.

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