By Agence France-Presse
At least 19 people were killed in fighting between ethnic groups in northwest Nigeria’s Taraba state over ownership of a fishing lake, police said Wednesday.
The fighting erupted on Monday between the Shomo and Jole ethnic groups in the district of Lau.
“Nineteen people were confirmed dead,” state police spokesman David Misal told AFP. “Around 100 houses were burned and several people were also injured.”
Misal said long-standing animosity between the neighbouring communities over the lake’s ownership had already cost dozens of lives.
Unsuccessful attempts at reconciliation by state authorities and the police had prompted the government to ban fishing there, he said.
“However some miscreants flouted the ban… leading to the clashes,” Misal said.
President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the clashes in a statement late Tuesday, expressing sadness at “the resort to violence over disagreements that could be resolved through dialogue”.
Communal clashes over land and water rights are common in parts of Nigeria, especially between nomadic herders and farmers in the centre of the country.