Jos - Gunmen opened fire on an outdoor bar in a village in Nigeria's volatile Plateau state, killing 10 people and wounding several others, the military and witnesses said on Tuesday.
The attack happened in the remote village of Heipang late on Monday, a military spokesman for Plateau state Captain Salisu Ibrahim Mustapha said.
“The gunmen opened fire indiscriminately on customers and killing eight on the spot while two others died later as a result of the gunshot wounds they sustained,” he said.
Plateau state is in central Nigeria, where its largely Muslim north and Christian south meet, and it often sees intercommunal violence between the two sects. Hundreds have died in clashes in Plateau state in the past decade.
Several witnesses said the assailants were wearing army uniforms and came in a type of van often used by the military.
Mark Lipdo, head of a local Christian non-governmental organisation called the Stefanus Foundation based in Plateau state, said he was in the bar when the attack took place and saw men in military uniforms approach it before opening fire.
Another witness, ThankGod Sule, said: “We saw soldiers in their Hilux Van and they started shooting ... I was lucky to have escaped the attack because I was there also drinking when they came, but I was a bit out the way.”
Mustapha rejected this account as “a lie and mischievous”.
“How can we do something like that by taking arms against people we are to protect? It is against logical reasoning,” he said. “The incident took place in the night where there was no light and the attackers operated for about two minutes. How can somebody identify who carried out the attack?”
The attack also bore the possible hallmarks of Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram, which is waging a campaign of violence against security forces, government officials and Christians. The sect wants to impose strict sharia, Islamic law, on Nigeria which would forbid drinking, and sometimes targets bars.
The chairman of the local council of Barkin Ladi Emmanuel Loman, where the village of Heipang lies, called on the military to investigate reports the attack happened with the “complicity and connivance” of the army. - Reuters