At least 13 people were killed on Sunday in two separate attacks in central Nigeria’s Benue state, an area wrecked by clashes between Christian farmers and nomadic cattle herders, local officials said.
In the first attack overnight, gunmen believed to be herders invaded Tseadough village killing seven people, including women and children and took one woman captive, according to Kwande local government council head Terdoo Nyor Kenti.
The armed herdsmen stormed the village shortly after midnight while the people were asleep.
“From what I gathered, they opened fire and shot sporadically in all directions which rattled everyone,” he says.
“Seven people were killed at the end, six others were injured while the herdsmen also went away with a woman after burning several houses and farmland in the area,” he adds.
A resident, Msurter Anger, confirmed the attack, adding that “everyone had gone to bed when the sound of sporadic gunshot was heard from all corners of the village.”
He said “seven unlucky ones, including women and children, were either hacked or shot dead while an elderly man who could not run was burnt in his home.”
In Otukpo town on Sunday, six people were killed in a cult violence, according to a witness Ogli.
Senior council official George Alli told AFP that six deaths have been confirmed. “I am still expecting a clearer picture about this because the police have deployed their personnel” to the area, he says, adding that security forces were on the trail of the attackers.
Benue state has seen a wave of deadly clashes which have left hundreds dead in recent months.
The area lies in the so-called “Middle Belt” between Nigeria’s mainly-Christian south and predominantly-Muslim north.