"We praise God in this war for the Prophet Mohammad. We thank Allah for the successful attack in ...on Christians and security men."
By Buhari Bello
07/10/2012 Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram said on Tuesday it was behind attacks in volatile Plateau state last weekend that killed at least 65 people, but security forces blamed the violence on localised ethnic clashes.
"We praise God in this war for the Prophet Mohammad. We thank Allah for the successful attack in ... Plateau state on Christians and security men," an email in the local Hausa language from the Boko Haram's spokesman Abul Qaqa said.
The email was sent to reporters in Boko Haram's home base in northeast Maiduguri from an address previously used by Qaqa.
Fighting erupted on Saturday in often volatile areas in Plateau state when gunmen fought with security forces, torched mostly Christian villages and butchered families.
Security forces said they were engaging migrant Fulani herdsman who for years have clashed with indigenous tribes over fertile farmland and property disputes. Political rivalries have stoked violence in the past.
There was no mention by the Fulani herdsman or the military of Boko Haram involvement in the weekend's violence but the sect has been behind several suicide bombings this year on churches in Jos, Plateau's capital.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who sacked his defence minister and national security adviser last month, pledged to track down the people who killed Senator Gyang Dantong, of the ruling People's Democratic Party, at the funeral.
Jonathan, a southern Christian, has come under intense pressure to stem the spread of violence in the north, where his opponents say he is out of touch.
Boko Haram has killed hundreds this year in its insurgency against Jonathan's government. The sect wants to carve out an Islamic state in Africa's most populous nation.