© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the nation in Abuja
LAGOS (Reuters) – The Nigerian president called for calm on Sunday after reports of inter-community violence between ethnic groups in a market in the southwestern state of Oyo. Clashes between merchants from the Yoruba and Hausa ethnic groups broke out on Saturday at Shasha market in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo, the state governor’s spokesman said. Most of the Yoruba live in southwestern Nigeria, while the Hausa are concentrated in the northern states. Tensions have risen in southwestern states in recent weeks amid claims by public figures that nomadic cattle herders of the mainly northern Fulani ethnic group are committing violent crimes, which herders have denied. Many of the herders have moved south in search of shrinking grazing lands. Usman Yako, chairman of the Hausa merchants association in Shasha market, told Reuters by phone that at least 11 people from his ethnic group were killed in clashes at the market on Friday and Saturday that followed an argument between Yoruba and Hausa merchants. . President Muhammadu Buhari appealed on Twitter to religious and traditional leaders, as well as elected leaders, “to join the federal government in ensuring that the communities in their domain are not divided along ethnic or overriding lines. “. “We will not allow any ethnic or religious group to fuel hatred and violence against other groups,” he wrote. Oyo State Police did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment. “The attacks, which resulted in the loss of life and property, must be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice,” the human rights group Amnesty International said in a statement, referring to the violence in the Shasha market. Nigeria’s security forces are already overburdened by armed kidnapper gangs in the northwest and a militant Islamist insurgency in the northeast.