A military spokesman says soldiers killed more than 100 gunmen blamed for ethno-religious clashes started by cattle rustling in central Nigeria.

Maj. Gen. Henry Ayoola said the military went on the offensive after 28 civilians were killed last week. Community leaders put the toll at up to 70 civilians. They said Fulani herdsmen who are Muslim attacked Tarok farmers who are Christian. A Fulani leader said the trouble started with the theft of more than 300 Fulani cows.

Ayoola told reporters Wednesday that soldiers tracked down the attackers and killed scores in shootouts. Nigeria's military is accused of indiscriminate killings, charges they deny.

Violence in the area around the Plateau state capital, Jos, is a complex mix of religion, tribe, politics and land rights. Thousands have been killed since 1999.