Not less than 36 people were shot dead by gunmen and many buildings destroyed in a night raid on a village near the central Nigerian city of Jos, officials said, in an area hit by repeated ethnic clashes.

The gunmen went house-to-house killing residents in Yelwa Zangam late on Tuesday, a military spokesman said. Troops struggled to get to the area as a bridge had been destroyed, he added.

Jos is the capital of Plateau State – part of Nigeria’s so-called Middle Belt which has seen regular fighting between the Hausa-Fulani group, who dominate the whole of northern Nigeria, and a number of much smaller local ethnic groups.

Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong described the attack as a “barbaric act”, and said security forces had arrested 10 suspects and were pursuing others.

One local resident said the attackers were Fulanis from a nearby area involved in a feud with the Yelwa Zangam community. Reuters could not independently verify this.

A registrar at a hospital in Jos told Reuters that 36 bodies had been brought in from the village.

The whole of the country has been experiencing an upsurge of violence this year, with abductions for ransom and armed robberies commonplace in several states.

The Hausa-Fulani, who number tens of millions across Nigeria and are mostly Muslim, are seen as a threat by some of the smaller Middle Belt groups, who are predominantly Christian.

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