29 killed as ethnic violence grips NW Nigeria

Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - At least 29 people have been killed in northern Nigeria, police say, in a suspected revenge attack after gunmen shot dead more than 130 people in the same area earlier this month.

The latest bloodshed hit several villages in the Kajuru area of Kaduna state which has seen a surge in ethnic violence.

Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herders stormed into villages of ethnic Adara farmers on Tuesday, killing 29 people and burning some 40 homes.

"We counted 27 persons dead, including a policeman," Kaduna police chief Ahman Abdurrahman told reporters after visiting the area on Wednesday. The police later found two more bodies.

The bloodshed was believed to be in retaliation for gunmen attacking eight Fulani settlements on February 11, which state governor Nasir El-Rufai said killed more than 130 people.

The violence took place on the eve of Nigeria's presidential election, which ended up being held last Saturday after a week-long delay.

"This kind of animalistic carnage must stop," said Abdurrahman.

Southern Kaduna is one of many areas blighted by years-long violence between largely Muslim Fulani herders and indigenous Christian farmers over land and water rights.

The clashes have been aggravated by rapid population growth in Africa's most populous country.

The violence has recently taken on an ethnic and religious dimension, with politicians accused of inflaming the violence for political ends.