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Wed, 18 Jul 2012 11:08 - Updated Wed, 18 Jul 2012 11:08

Over 5,500 flee after attacks on Nigerian villages: ICRC


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ABUJA - More than 5,500 people fled their homes after attacks this month on mainly Christian villages in central Nigeria in which over 100 people were killed, the Red cross said Tuesday.

The violence in the villages in Plateau state "caused dozens of casualties and forced more than 5,500 people to flee their homes. Over 25 villages were affected," the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

On July 7, gunmen suspected of belonging to the Fulani tribe stormed mainly Christian villages and killed more than 80 people.

Another 22 people, including two senior politicians, were killed the next day in an attack, also blamed on the Fulani, on the funeral of the July 7 victims.

"People left their homes and ran to safety with only the clothes they were wearing. They need everything to survive in this kind of situation," said Julia Unger, ICRC's head in Jos, the state capital, in the statement.

The humanitarian organisation said it was now providing food, blankets, soap and other essential items to more than 2,800 displaced people.

Since the ICRC opened its new office in Jos last February, this was the fourth time that it has taken action to assist people affected by inter-communal violence in the state, which has a history of such clashes.

Jos has also been struck by Islamist group Boko Haram, responsible for scores of attacks in northern and central Nigeria since mid-2009.