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Machete attacks leave 19 dead

JOS | Men armed with rifles and machetes killed 19 people in attacks on three villages in volatile central Nigeria, authorities said Tuesday.

Three homes were attacked in the Christian village of Kuru Station about 18 miles from the central Nigerian city of Jos, a flash point of sectarian tension between Christians and Muslims, a community leader said.

Riyom local government Chairman Simon Mwaekwom said villagers told him armed men woke up the houses’ occupants around midnight with gunshots and forced them out before setting their homes ablaze and attacking them with machetes.

In total, 19 people, including women and children, died in the assaults, and at least three others were injured, police say.

“Those that escaped said they saw military men; the military men were shooting, and the other people burning the houses and macheteing the villagers,” Mr. Mwaekwom said.

He said the villagers claimed to have picked up two identification cards left behind by military attackers, but the military disputed their claim and said villagers attacked the soldiers in retaliation.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports