Local government officials reported the discovery of 46 bodiesAt least 46 people have been killed following an attack by gunmen on a rural village in northern Nigeria.
Wednesday’s assault, the latest in a string of fatal attacks in the region, took place in Umogidi, Benue state, where land and resource competition between nomadic herders and settled farmers is commonplace.
“The 46 fatalities resulted from corpses of victims discovered and recovered. Numerous individuals remain unaccounted for, so the number of fatalities may be higher “Paul Hemba, the security counsel to the governor of Benue state, told AFP.
According to him, herdsmen have been assaulting local communities for the past month. He added, “Soldiers have been dispatched to the area, so the situation is somewhat calmer now.”
Benue has been one of the states hardest affected by clashes between farmers and Fulani herders, whom farmers accuse of destroying farmland with their cattle grazing.
Baba Usman Ngelzarma, the leader of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, a Fulani herders’ organization, cautioned against condemning herders without conducting an investigation. “There is a deliberate campaign of demonisation of Fulani herders, which started in Benue and spread to other parts of Nigeria,” he said.
“We are not exonerating Fulani herders from involvement in some of the attacks, but the way they are always blamed for every attack is unfair and prejudiced.” He demanded an investigation to identify the true perpetrators.