Gunmen Kill 45 People in Attack on Northern Nigerian Town

(Bloomberg) -- Unidentified gunmen killed at least 45 people in an attack in a central Nigerian region that has been plagued by violence between farmers and herder communities.

The attackers also burned down homes in the district of Birnin Gwari, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of the capital, Abuja, Kaduna state police chief Austin Iwar said in a text message. Additional police and soldiers have been deployed to the area, the Kaduna state government said in an emailed statement.

Police spokesman Muktar Aliyu declined to give a reason for the attacks.

“Kaduna is vulnerable to cattle rustling,” Freedom Onuha, a senior lecturer at the University of Nigeria in the southeastern town of Nsukka, said by phone. “Kaduna is also a major hotspot for armed banditry and religious conflict.”

A spiraling conflict between mainly Muslim herders and predominantly Christian crop farmers has left hundreds of people dead this year alone. President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to address the crisis has drawn criticism of his administration as he prepares to campaign for reelection in a vote scheduled for February.

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