6 die in village attacks in central Nigeria

Authorities say six people died in attacks on two villages in a central Nigerian region beset by religious and ethnic violence.

Plateau state police spokesman Apev Jacob said Monday that unknown gunmen stormed the mostly Christian villages Sunday night near the city of Jos. He said the gunmen also stole 37 head of cattle before fleeing into the rural pasturelands.

Jacob said soldiers and police would investigate.

Jos is the epicenter of religious violence in Nigeria's "middle belt," where dozens of ethnic groups vie for control of fertile lands. Politics, jobs and land often motivate violence that falls along religious lines that has left thousands dead in recent years. Human Rights Watch says 200 people have died around the city since December.