Gunmen have carried out an attack on a rural village in northern central Nigeria resulting in the deaths of numerous people, according to local government officials on Friday.
The attack was carried out on Wednesday in the Umogidi community in Benue State, where clashes between nomadic herders and settled farmers competing for land and resources are a common occurrence.
“The 46 casualties were from the bodies of victims found and retrieved. Many people are still missing, so the number of those killed may be higher,” said Paul Hemba, the security advisor to the Benue State governor, to AFP.
Hemba blamed herdsmen who have been attacking local communities over the last month for the attack.
Soldiers have been dispatched to the area, and the situation is relatively calm at present.
The motive behind the attack is not clear, but Benue has witnessed some of the worst clashes between farmers and herders who they accuse of destroying farmland with their cattle grazing.
A spokesperson for the national herders’ association was not immediately available for comment.
Bala Ejeh, Otukpo local government chairman, mentioned that the gunmen conducted their attack on Wednesday afternoon while people were mourning three others killed a day prior.
He also said that 46 bodies have been recovered so far, including that of his son and two relatives.
Communal violence is only one of the security challenges that President-elect Bola Tinubu faces, having won a presidential ballot last month that was marked by significant delays and accusations of vote rigging.
Security forces are also fighting against a 14-year-long jihadist conflict in the country’s northwest and attacks from separatists in the southeast.
Intercommunal violence has resulted in more extensive criminality in the northwest and center of the country, where heavily armed bandit militias loot villages and carry out mass abductions for ransom.