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Villagers, lawmaker: 30 killed, 40 homes burned in ethnic-religious attack in central Nigeria

Survivors and a legislator say 30 villagers were killed, 40 homes burned down and scores of cattle were stolen in an attack on a mainly Christian village in ongoing ethnic and religious strife in central Nigeria.

A senior police officer said only five people were killed and soldiers were pursuing attackers and hunting for missing people. Authorities regularly downplay casualty figures.

But legislator Daniel Dem said 30 people were killed and many injured because the attack went on for four hours before soldiers arrived.

Survivors in the Shonong community of Plateau state blamed Fulani Muslim herdsmen but community financial secretary Salihu Jauro denied that and said those making such charges should produce proof.

The police officer sought anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters; survivors feared reprisals.