Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)At least 86 people have been killed in attacks in central Nigeria, police said, an incident that has the potential to exacerbate ethnic tensions in an increasingly volatile region.
Nigeria: Scores killed, homes burned in Plateau State attacks
The violence, thought to be carried out by armed herdsmen, flared on Saturday in Jos, the capital city of Plateau State, police said.
"Eighty six persons all together were killed, six people injured, fifty houses burnt," said police spokesman Terna Tyopev.
Violence between the nomadic Fulani herdsmen, who are mostly Muslims, and farmers, who are predominantly Christians, have rocked Nigeria's Middle Belt since 2013 and are becoming more common.
Amid fears of revenge attacks from affected local communities, Simon Lalong, the governor of Plateau, announced that authorities will enforce a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in Jos.
Lalong called the curfew "an immediate measure to protect the lives of citizens" in a statement on Twitter and said it will be in effect "until further notice."
He promised to follow up with longer term measures to secure peace in the area.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari posted a message on Twitter sending condolences to those affected and appealing for calm.
"The grievous loss of lives and property arising from the killings in Plateau today is painful and regrettable," he said.
"We will not rest until all murderers and criminal elements and their sponsors are incapacitated and brought to justice," Buhari said.
Vice President Yemi Osibajo visited Plateau State on Monday to condole with families and communities affected by the attacks, his aide Laolu Akande said.
Akande said Osibajo met with different parties affected by the conflict in the state to discuss an end to the spate of violence in the state.
The Nigerian President's ability to quell violence in the country is certain to be a defining issue in the upcoming 2019 presidential elections.