Dozens killed in central Nigeria clashes

A weekend attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen on a farming village in central Nigeria’s Benue state left 82 dead, a police spokesman said on Tuesday, giving an updated toll from the earlier figure of 45.

“From the latest report available to the police command, 82 people were killed in the attack on Egba village by suspected Fulani herdsmen”, Austin Ezeani told AFP.

“Twenty-five people were also injured and are receiving treatment in hospital.

“Initially 45 people were reported to have been killed in the violence but the death toll kept mounting as rescue search progressed,” he added.

No arrests have been made following the violence on Sunday, which saw large numbers of gunmen storm the village armed with AK47 assault rifles.

A local lawmaker from the area, Audu Sule, previously said that about 50 people were killed, including women and children, before the gunmen fled into the bush.

Violence over grazing rights is common in Nigeria, pitting herdsmen against farmers and frequently resulting in deadly clashes and reprisal attacks.

Benue state falls in Nigeria’s so-called “Middle Belt”, where the mainly Christian south meets the majority Muslim north, and has been the site of waves of sectarian violence in recent years.

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