(CNN) -- Authorities in central Nigeria were investigating an outbreak of violence in a region rife with Muslim-Christian tensions and ethnic division.
At least 28 people were killed Thursday night in Plateau state, said Capt. Salihu Mustapha, a Nigerian military special task force spokesman. Two witnesses said they believe the violence is tied to cattle theft by Muslim Fulani herdsmen.
The region is in the so-called Middle Belt of Africa's most populous nation, dividing the mainly Muslim north from the predominantly Christian south. Violence has often pitted Christians and Muslims against each other, but bad blood many times has more to do with disputes over access to natural resources than religion.
Journalist Hassan John contributed to this report.