ROME, July 9 (UPI) -- The Italian Foreign Ministry said Monday it was concerned about the level of violence targeting members of the Christian community in Nigeria.
Nigerian authorities said at least 23 people were killed last weekend when gunmen shot up six villages in the African nation's Plateau state
The attacks in the Gashish district were believed to be the work of Fulani mercenaries, an ethnic group of Muslim herdsmen who have been at odds with Christian villagers in the region
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said he called on Margherita Boniver, his special envoy on humanitarian emergencies, to visit with Nigerian authorities.
Boniver, in a statement, said she shared a "common concern about violence against Christians, but also against innocent civilians of other faiths" in Nigeria.
Religious violence has troubled Nigeria, a country divided along Muslim and Christian lines. Boko Haram, a militant group in the country, is allegedly seeking an Islamic state.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, said his country would work with the International Criminal Court on investigating Boko Haram.