More than 20 people were murdered and 30 others critically injured in late Monday attack by herdsmen in Nigerian north central Benue state, the governor said on Tuesday, APA reports quoting AA.
“We have reports that over 20 people have been killed in Goma and Logo local government areas,” Benue Governor Samuel Ortom told reporters on Tuesday in the state capital Makurdi.
No fewer than 30 others were injured and taken to various hospitals, the governor added.
He said nine of the victims were livestock guards employed to implement the state's anti-open grazing law, which had pitted the government against herdsmen in the agrarian state known for herdsmen-farmers clashes.
Ortom blamed the violence on herdsmen, who he insisted were taking the “anti-open grazing law personal even when we have said that no ethnic group was being targeted”.
Moses Iyamu, the Benue police spokesman, confirmed the attack to Anadolu Agency by phone, saying: “While we are aware of the development, it is premature at the moment to say how many people were killed in the attacks…”
Herdsmen-farmers’ violence has become a serious security crisis in Nigeria, especially in the mainly agrarian north central or Middle Belt, with both sides often trading accusations.
Experts have blamed the crisis on the depleting Lake Chad and government's failure to urgently address the associated problems of scarce resources, leading to violent competition for land between farmers and herders.
Many state governments have responded to herdsmen’s alleged excesses with anti-grazing laws which the latter consider unfair.
© APA 2018