Nigerian police are investigating the deaths of 11 traders who were killed by gunmen in the northern Plateau state.
The group of vendors were on their way home Wednesday from a market in Riyom, just outside the state capital, when they were attacked by “unknown assailants," police spokesman Tyopev Terna said.
The attack also left four injured. Police said there are currently no suspects in the case, but the investigation is ongoing.
“We are doing a lot. We have mobilized our men, especially in Riyom and the neighboring communities. We are not only using uniformed policemen but also detectives in plain clothes,” Terna said
“We are doing so much. We have increased the number of policemen in the area,” he added, asking residents to report any information they might have on the case. “If information is given to us, I’m sure we would unravel the mystery.”
Plateau state lies in Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt, which separates the predominantly Muslim north from the largely Christian south.
It has long been a hotbed of ethnic, sectarian and religious tensions between Christian farming communities and Muslim Hausa/Fulani cattle herders.
Last month, over thirty murders were reported in Plateau state, including one incident on Oct. 16 when 20 people were killed during an organized attack by an armed group of vigilantes in Bassa.
"We don't have an idea who the victims were and whether the attack was ethnically motivated or the work of bandits who abound in the area," said Nura Abdullahi, head of a cattle herders union in Plateau.
"It is too early to draw any conclusions."
Tensions typically boil over into tit-for-tat violence over access to land and resources and the struggle for political control, AFP reported.