Africa News further reports, “Northwest and central Nigeria have for years struggled with violence between mainly Muslim nomadic herders and Christian farmers over control of resources, water and land.”
A survivor of the attack said the assault happened along Rukuba road, on the outskirts of Jos, the capital of Nigeria’s Plateau State.
The Muslims were returning from Bauchi State, he said, after attending an event to celebrate the Islamic New Year.
Government authorities in Nigeria have condemned the attack, with the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari directing security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the crime.
The attack has also attracted countrywide condemnation, with the leadership of the Jama’Atu Nasril Islam (JNI), an umbrella group for the Nigerian Muslim community headquartered in the city of Kaduna, warning of the rise in ethno-religious conflict in the country.
Led by their Secretary-General, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu who also serves as Sultan of Sokoto, the Muslim leaders blamed politicians for the August 14 incident, which they noted could snowball into ethno-religious conflict, if not urgently managed.
“We call on governments and the security agencies not to be deterred on the search for the Rukuba Road assassins and whosoever is found wanting should be dealt with accordingly. The Plateau State Government should also be more proactive in saving the lives and property of innocent Nigerians,” they said in the August 15 statement.
In their call for prayers from the entire Muslim community, the leaders added, “Muslims, particularly those residing in Plateau, should be steadfast with supplications, as all hands must be on deck to make Plateau State a peaceful and tourist attraction it used to be, for the benefit of the State and all peace-loving Nigerians.”
The Muslim leaders call on Christians in Plateau State and Northern Nigeria “to be wary of the diabolical attempts by some frustrated politicians to ignite an all-out ethno-religious conflict in Northern Nigeria.”
They further say that no Muslim is responsible for attacks in regions that have been said to experience religious extremism, and add, “Many states in Northern Nigeria, especially Nasarawa and Kaduna States, and by extension North-Western States, have suffered from the scourge of herders and farmers conflict. It is on records that Muslims in these States have never blocked highways or roads to attack Christians or other non-Muslims in their localities.”