Plateau politicians killed at funeral

Nigeria violence: Plateau politicians killed at funeral

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Gunmen have shot and killed two Nigerian politicians during a funeral for victims of communal violence that flared on Saturday.

The army said the assault was probably carried out by the same men responsible for Saturday's attacks on Christian villages near Jos in Plateau state.

At least 37 people were killed in the village attacks.

Muslim herdsmen from the Fulani ethnic group were blamed for the violence, but they denied any wrongdoing.

The BBC's Will Ross in Lagos says the victims of Saturday's attacks were from the Christian Birom ethnic group.

The community has been caught up in a cycle of violence with Fulani herdsmen, stemming from a disagreement as to who are the rightful inhabitants of the land in Plateau state, he says.

The politicians killed were named locally as Gyang Dantong, a senator with the ruling PDP, and state assembly leader Gyang Fulani.

Both were believed to be Christian.

The military said a total of 37 people were killed on Saturday, including two policemen and about 20 of the attackers.

But other sources put the death toll much higher and reported piles of burnt bodies being discovered.

Some unconfirmed reports also said about 20 people were killed in the funeral attack.

Plateau state lies on the fault line between Nigeria's mainly Muslim north and Christian and animist south.

Human Rights Watch says about 1,000 people were killed in communal clashes around Jos during 2010.