Tribal bloodshed

The week's news at a glance.

Plateau, Nigeria

President Olusegun Obasanjo declared a state of emergency this week in Plateau, a Nigerian province where hundreds have been killed in recent fighting. The Tarok, a Christian tribe of farmers, and the Fulani, nomadic Muslim cattle herders, have been battling over Plateau’s fertile farmland off and on for three years. In the past few months, thousands of people have been displaced and the conflict has begun spreading to other provinces. “We need to take serious steps,” Obasanjo said, “to stem the tide of what has become a near-mutual genocide.” But Tarok and Fulani alike said this week that they were suspicious of the presidential decree, which allows Obasanjo to administer the province directly. Nigeria has only been free of military dictatorship for five years.

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