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8 killed in suspected herdsmen attack on Benue villages

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Gunmen believed to be nomadic Fulani herdsmen killed eight people in central Nigeria, police said Tuesday, in the latest violence over grazing and land rights.

The attack on two farming villages in the Logo local government area of Benue state happened overnight Sunday to Monday, state police commissioner Bashir Makama told AFP.

“Eight people were killed by Fulani cattle rearers who invaded the two farming villages,” he added.

Trouble erupted when the villagers — who are predominantly farmers — tried to prevent the herdsmen from moving their cattle through their farms, Makama said.

Reported death tolls from such attacks frequently vary between the official account and local people.

Newspapers said between 10 and 20 people were killed in the attack, which is the latest in a region plagued by the long-running conflict.

In March, at least 17 people, mostly women and children, were killed in similar violence in Benue state, which lies in the religiously mixed Middle Belt but is predominantly Christian.

The worst such violence occurred in February 2016 when hundreds of people were said to have been killed and about 1,000 homes destroyed in the Agatu area of the state.

The Fulani were said to have retaliated for a previous killing of their kinsmen by the local farmers.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a Hausa-speaking Fulani from Muslim majority northern Nigeria, has proposed the creation of grazing land to prevent further clashes.

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