Ethnic clashes in central Nigeria kill at least 14

Killings come amid escalating tension in Plateau over the disappearance of army major general

Ethnic clashes in central Nigeria kill at least 14

At least 14 people have been killed in the escalating ethnic tensions in central Nigeria’s central Plateau state, an army spokesman said late Thursday.

Adam Umar, an army spokesman, told reporters that the latest killings took place in the Jol community, where 13 people -- including women and children -- were killed by unidentified gunmen. 

Umar claimed the killings occurred due to reprisals and proliferation of light arms in the area.

"Jol attack in Riyom followed the killing of three cows on Sept. 19, in which a meeting of Berom and Fulani was summoned," Umar said.

Despite the peace meeting, a herder was later killed in an ambush in the area on Sept. 29, and a boy was shot in the hand on Oct. 2, Umar said, adding that another attack the same day on Jol left 13 killed and homes torn down.

According to local media, the death toll may be as high as 19.

The latest killings came amid escalating tension in Plateau over the disappearance of an army major general, whose car and clothes were found in a pond.

The military search team said a few other vehicles have also been pulled out of the same pond, triggering fury across the country.

The body of the top military officer has yet to be found.

Plateau has been a hotbed of ethnic clashes, mostly involving battles between Christian farmers and Muslim herders.