Unknown gunmen killed at least 21 people during an attack on five villages in central Nigeria, police said Friday.

At least three others were injured when heavily armed men launched an onslaught onto villages in the Zango-Kataf area of Kaduna State on Wednesday and Thursday, the state’s police spokesman Mohammed Jalige told dpa via telephone.

Local rights group Southern Kaduna Peoples Union placed the death toll at 33, citing ethnic clashes as the reason for the violence.

The attacks were committed by fighters of the Fulani ethnic group, who are traditionally pastoralists, against members of the Atyap ethnic group, a farming community, the union’s spokesman, Luka Binniyat, said in a statement.

A police squad has been deployed to hunt down the killers and prevent further attacks, but no arrests have been made so far, Jalige said.

Jalige did not comment on which group police suspects to be behind the attacks.
Clashes between ethnic groups, including cattle raiding, have occurred for centuries in the West African nation.

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