JOS, Nigeria – Muslim herdsmen razed Christian villages early Tuesday along a central Nigerian plain where ethnic and religious violence remains rampant, killing at least six people and leaving others homeless, authorities said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria's military said it carried out a raid on a suspected hideout for members of a radical Islamist sect who carried out an attack that killed at least 16 people on a university campus holding church services.
The village assaults occurred near the city of Jos, which has seen thousands killed in the last decade in riots and attacks between Christians and Muslims living there. The Fulani herdsmen set fire to homes and shot those who fled, witnesses and the police said.
A senior police officer, who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to release casualty information to journalists, said at least six people where killed and others were injured.
The attacks focused around the Riyom local government area, a region of Christian farming villages. The area has seen a number of nighttime attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the last week that have killed at least 12 people, authorities say.
Jos and surrounding Plateau state have been torn apart in recent years by violence pitting its different ethnic groups and major religions — Christianity and Islam — against each other. Human Rights Watch says at least 1,000 people were killed in communal clashes around Jos in 2010.
The violence, though fractured across religious lines, often has more to do with local politics, economics and rights to grazing lands.
Meanwhile, gunfire echoed through the streets of a neighborhood in the northern Nigeria city of Kano on Tuesday morning as soldiers raided a suspected safe house for members of the sect known as Boko Haram. Brig. Gen. Iliyasu I. Abba later told journalists soldiers killed one person and arrested three women and two children in their operation. One suspect escaped, Abba said.
Investigators believe the Boko Haram gunmen used the hideout to launch Sunday's attack on the Kano university campus. Boko Haram is waging an increasingly violent sectarian fight with Nigeria's weak central government.
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement condemning recent bombings and shootings in Nigeria blamed on the sect.
"We are concerned about attacks on churches, news media and government installations that increasingly target innocent civilians across Northern Nigeria," Clinton said. "We condemn attempts by those in Nigeria who seek to inflame Christian-Muslim tensions, and support those who recognize Nigeria's ethnic and religious diversity as one of the country's greatest strengths."
Rabiu reported from Kano, Nigeria.