Herders kill 'scores' in central Nigeria: authorities
11 July 2016, 20:32
Lagos - Gunmen believed to be nomadic Fulani herdsmen have killed
scores of villagers in central Nigeria's Benue State in a long-running conflict
over grazing rights, the state government said on Monday.
"The magnitude of killings is enormous. Scores of people were
killed in the past two weeks by Fulani herdsmen in at least 10 local government
areas of the state," spokesperson Tahav
Agerzua told AFP.
The state government was collaborating with security agencies to
contain the violence, which is the latest flare-up between local farmers and
the herders in the state.
Benue state police spokesperson Moses Yamu confirmed the killings
but said the affected communities had returned to normal.
"It's not a recent development. The clashes happened last
month and we are on top of the situation," he said.
Nigeria's Channels Television put the number of dead at 81 in the
past two weeks after attacks on farming villages in the Logo and Ukum areas of the state.
The mainly Muslim Fulani herders and largely Christian farmers
have clashed for decades over increasingly scarce land and resources,
particularly in the religiously mixed central states.
In February, hundreds of people were said to have been killed and
about 1 000 homes destroyed in the Agatu
area of Benue in a wave of attacks blamed on Fulani.
Those attacks appeared to be in revenge for the death of a Fulani
leader and the theft of his cattle, which was blamed on the Agatu people.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim, has proposed the
creation of grazing land to prevent further clashes but Fulani groups say in
Benue the government has opposed the plan.
The violence is the latest security headache for Nigeria, which
has been battling Boko Haram Islamists in the northeast for the last seven
years and a flare-up of militancy in the oil-producing south.