LAGOS – The United States embassy Friday slammed as "horrific" this week's massacre of more than 100 people in a central Nigerian state prone to sectarian violence.
"The death and destruction is horrific and the American people express their sorrow for the families on all sides affected by the violence," the mission said in an statement.
"The US Ambassador to Nigeria (Robin Sanders) reiterates that the US government continues to be concerned about the tragic loss of life of hundreds of people in the Jos area of Plateau State," it said.
Sunday's raid on three Berom villages near state capital Jos claimed 109 lives according to police, while the local information commissioner put the figure at 500.
The statement said underlying factors fuelling repeated ethnic violence in Jos such as economic challenges, tensions and the need for better state leadership should be addressed "in a comprehensive manner with the goal of ending the cycle of sectarian conflicts."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had on Monday called on Nigeria to find and punish those responsible for the killings.
"The Nigerian government should ensure that the perpetrators of acts of violence are brought to justice under the rule of law and that human rights are respected as order is restored," the chief US diplomat said.
Also on Thursday, the United States highlighted flagrant human rights abuses in 2009 in three African countries -- Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.
In Nigeria, national police, army and other security forces "committed extrajudicial killings and used lethal and excessive force to apprehend criminals and suspects, according to the State Department's annual rights report.
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