Nigerian troops have killed dozens of civilians and razed scores of homes to avenge the deaths of six soldiers, community leaders and residents of central Plateau state charged on Sunday.
A spokesman for the Special Task Force said its troops are involved only in an ongoing battle with an armed tribe that residents said killed six soldiers and mutilated their bodies last week. The soldiers’ eyes were gouged out, their tongues slit and they were beheaded, according to residents who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals.
The latest report follows previous accusations against the Nigerian military of carrying out acts of brutality against the innocent.
Spokesman Capt. Ikwedichi Iweha denied the force attacked any civilians, asking why they would attack the very people they are supposed to protect.
Traditional ruler Chief Jessie Miri told reporters as many as 80 people have been killed in weekend attacks by soldiers in his Wase district.
Residents said the soldiers arrived in more than a dozen armored personnel carriers.
Community leader Comrade Jangle Lohbut called a news conference in Plateau state capital, Jos, to say he had documented at least 38 deaths, including those of two police officers, members of the National Security and Civil Defense Corps and a member of a vigilante group.
“Soldiers stormed some villages in Wase … . Villages belonging to Tarok and other tribes were razed and many lives, men, women and children, were lost.” He said hundreds of people are homeless.