ABUJA, Nigeria — Gunmen attacked two communities in Nigeria’s north-central region, killing 14 and injuring scores of others, authorities said Thursday.
Gunmen invaded communities in Logo council area of Benue state on Wednesday evening, opening “unprovoked” fire on residents, the state’s top security official, Paul Hemba, said.
Benu police confirmed the attack. The attackers shot dead 12 people in one community before moving on to another where they killed two more villagers, Hemba said. According to him, 15 people were seriously injured.
He identified the attackers as “Fulani herdsmen”, a group of mainly young herdsmen from the Fulani tribe, caught up in Nigeria’s conflict between host communities and herdsmen due to limited access to water and land.
Deadly clashes between local communities and herdsmen continue in Nigeria’s central and central regions in a cycle of violence that has defied government action, although security forces have recently reported some arrests and weapons seizures.
A similar attack in another part of Benue targeted a convoy of Nigerian army soldiers, but they were able to repel the attackers, Hemba said.
Many attacks in rural areas are similar. The motorcycle-riding gunmen often arrive by the hundreds in areas where Nigeria’s security forces are outnumbered and outnumbered.
Authorities have previously acknowledged that the lack of security personnel in many of the affected areas is one of the main reasons for the continued attacks.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in 2015 on a wave of goodwill after promising to end the country’s protracted security crisis, will leave office in 2023. These security concerns are back on the agenda as political campaigns for next year’s elections begin.