According to local government officials, 46 bodies have been discovered following a gunman attack on a rural town in northern central Nigeria.
The attack took place in Umogidi town of Benue state, where tit-for-tat fights between settled farmers and nomadic farmers vying for resources and land are frequent.
“The victims’ bodies that were discovered and collected contained 46 casualties. According to Paul Hemba, the governor of Benue state’s security adviser, many people are still missing, therefore the actual number of people killed may be greater.
He attributed the attacks on local villages during the previous month to herdsmen. The situation has somewhat calmed down now that soldiers have been sent to the area, he continued.
The motive for the attack was not clear but Benue has been one of the states hardest hit by clashes between farmers and herders who they accuse of destroying farmland with their cattle grazing.
A representative of the national herders’ association was not immediately available for comment.
The attackers struck when locals were mourning the deaths of three additional individuals a day earlier, according to Bala Ejeh, the local government chair of the Benue town of Otukpo. He claimed that 46 bodies, including his own kid and two relatives, had been found thus far.
In addition, strikes by separatists in the south-east and a 14-year-old jihadist battle in the country’s north-west are being fought by security forces.
In the north-west and center of Nigeria, where heavily armed bandit militias pillage villages and engage in mass kidnappings for ransom, intercommunal conflict has escalated into broader criminality.