Nigerian soldiers have torched many homes across southern and central Nigeria after recent attacks by armed groups that left six soldiers dead, security sources and residents said Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning armed assailants shot at soldiers in a suburb troubled by ethnic violence outside the central Nigerian city of Jos, Plateau State, local police told AFP.
“Two soldiers were killed, one was injured,” Plateau Police spokesperson Ubah Ogaba said.
After the killings, soldiers who had been stationed in the region to boost stability stormed into ethnic Fulani communities, burning up to 150 homes, local residents told AFP.
“The soldiers called us for a meeting, they told us to bring out miscreants that we know among us,” local resident Usman Adam said.
“But after the meeting we saw the deployment of many soldiers into our community. They began to set fire to our homes, they burnt my own home,” Adam lamented.
The army have not commented on the attack and did not respond to requests by AFP.
The violence by soldiers mirrored similar recent events that have sparked outrage in Nigeria and drawn condemnation from rights groups.
On Sunday, suspected pirates attacked a gunboat escorting a vessel in the volatile waters of the oil-rich Niger Delta, a security source speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP on Tuesday.
“During the ensuing gun battle, four of the soldiers and two civilians on board the vessel were killed,” the source said.
Security forces then launched a manhunt for the gunmen in the Lutugbene community, “burning a minimum of 21 houses,” community leader Austin Ozobo told AFP.
The security source confirmed the village was targeted but said soldiers “torched houses owned by persons who are sea pirates”.
Nigeria’s Delta region has long been a hotbed of piracy with armed gangs striking at ships from their hideouts among myriad onshore creeks.
Nigeria’s military, under pressure to halt rising insecurity across Africa’s most populous country, have faced mounting calls to investigate widespread rights abuses.
Last week, Amnesty International called for an investigation into military operations in northeast Nigeria, a region beset by jihadist conflict, where villages suspected to harbour militants have also been razed by soldiers.
“Brazen acts of razing entire villages, deliberately destroying civilian homes and forcibly displacing their inhabitants with no imperative military grounds, should be investigated,” the group said in a statement.