JOHANNESBURG, May 18 – Thirteen people have been killed in fresh attacks in Nigeria involving robbers and herdsmen attacking villagers in four villages in Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State, and Ukemberagya community in Benue State.
Ten people were killed in Birnin Gwari on Tuesday while three others were killed in Benue on Thursday, Nigeria’s Premium Times reported on Friday.
Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has given his men a three-week ultimatum to flush out “bandits from the area”
During the sustained attacks on the villagers, their homes were burned down, destroying grain stocks and leaving many injured.
The latest attack came barely 24 hours after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited the local government area to extend his condolences to victims of repeated attacks by herdsmen which forced people to flee to an Internally Displaced Person’s camp (IDP) at Anyiin.
Survivors of the attacks were left to wander through the smouldering remains of their villages, searching for loved ones who were subsequently rushed to hospital for treatment.
Ongoing fighting between herder–farmer conflicts in Nigeria usually involve disputes over land and/or cattle between herders (in particular the Fulani or Hausa) and farmers (for example the Tiv or Tarok).
The most impacted states are those of the Nigerian Middle Belt, including Benue, Taraba and Plateau.
Since the fourth Nigerian Republic’s founding in 1999, farmer-herder violence has killed thousands of people and displaced tens of thousands more.
It followed a trend in the increase of farmer-herder conflicts throughout much of the western Sahel, due to an expansion of agriculturist population and cultivated land at the expense of pasturelands; deteriorating environmental conditions, desertification and soil degradation; breakdown in traditional conflict resolution mechanisms of land and water disputes; and proliferation of small arms and crime in rural areas.