Soldiers kill 100, Burn Villages

MAKURDI, Nigeria?Soldiers burned houses and gunned down residents in six villages in eastern Nigeria, killing at least 100 civilians and causing tens of thousands of terrified villagers to flee into the bush, state officials said Wednesday.

The military denied it ordered the raids, which were apparently revenge for the killing of 19 soldiers in Benue state. Villagers have waged a decade-long ethnic feud, and local officials said the soldiers may have been mistaken for ethnic combatants.

Tahav Agerzu, spokesman for Benue’s state government, said uniformed soldiers in armored personnel carriers rounded up civilians in Gbejir village on Monday. Women and children were separated out and the attackers then opened fire on the men in a public square.

The attacks continued Tuesday, spreading to other nearby villages, close to where the mutilated bodies of the 19 abducted soldiers were found Oct. 12