The death toll from weekend violence in central Nigeria climbed to more than 200 Monday after members of a machete-wielding Muslim group attacked mostly Christian villages, officials said.
More than 200 were dead and 32 injured, according to Choji Gyang, a religious affairs adviser to the head of Plateau state, who said bodies were still being recovered. Sani Shehu, president of the non-governmental agency Civil Rights Congress, put the number of dead at about 485 people.
Twenty-six arrests had been made in connection with the violence, Gyang said.
Nigerian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan put security on high alert Sunday and began operations to capture the "roving bands of killers" who attacked the town of Dogo Nahauwa, just south of Jos.
The townsfolk are predominantly Berom, an ethnic group that mostly practices Christianity, said Manase Pampe, Red Cross spokesman for its Plateau state office. Reports of the attack described the assailants as members of the Muslim Hausa-Fulani ethnic group, Pampe and government spokesman Gregory Yenlong said.
The attackers stormed the town at 3 a.m. Sunday (9 p.m. Saturday ET) and remained there for 2.5 hours, Pampe said. Buildings were set afire and people were attacked with machetes, Yenlong said.
The violence resembled previous outbreaks of ethno-religious clashes in the west African nation.
(posted by cnn.com March 9, 2010)