Violence over land disputes kills Nigerian villagers

Ongoing clashes between farmers and herdsmen over land disputes in Nigeria, kill at least 20

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Fulani herdsman with his cattle on a dusty plain between Malkohi and Yola town, Nigeria.

At least 20 people were killed on Tuesday in ongoing clashes between farmers and herdsmen over land disputes in Nigeria, officials and local residents told Anadolu Agency.

Locals said Fulani herdsmen attacked farmers from the Udeni community in the latest violence in the state of Nasarawa.

"We lost 20 people while six others are being treated in hospitals in Lafia after we all fled from our villages," farmer Genyi Audu said by telephone from the state capital, Lafia.

"The attack occurred in the early morning by Fulani herdsmen who said they were avenging the death of some of their brothers," he added.

The Minority Report, a monitoring group which records the low-scale crisis in central Nigeria, said up to 38 people had lost their lives in the latest violence over land ownership.

"An attack by a suspected Fulani militia has killed 38 persons in the Afo community and the Udeni Magaji community of Nasarawa state," the group said in a statement.

The statement also added that among the villagers who fled the violence there were also Fulani herdsmen with their herds of cattle.

"This crisis is reportedly as a result of the abduction and massacre of three Fulani young men."

A police spokesman said extra officers had been deployed to the area and they had no confirmed number of casualties.

"Initially, we understood that seven died while houses were also torched."

On Sunday, 15 people were reportedly killed in a similar incident in Nasarawa.

Thousands have been killed over the years in ongoing land disputes between Fulani herdsmen and sedentary farmers from the Tiv tribe. The conflict has grown as global warming causes the Sahara Desert to spread south, forcing herders to move further in the search for grazing land.

Human Rights Watch has harshly criticised the government for mishandling the crisis and not prosecuting perpetrators, which prompts aggrieved victims to conduct revenge attacks.

TRTWorld and agencies