More than 10 people have been reportedly killed in a clash between suspected Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Bokuta village, Bosso Local Government Area, and Tungan Mallam village in the Paikoro LGA, Niger state.
According to The Punch, six people are believed to have been killed in Bokuta, while another four died at the Tungan Mallam clash.
Isiaq, a resident of Bokuta, disclosed that trouble started on Thursday, July 7, when the herdsmen invaded a farm in the community and destroyed crops.
The owner of the farm was said to have confronted the herdsmen after which a scuffle ensued and one of the herdsmen was killed.
He said, “The following day, herdsmen went on a reprisal and shot five farmers dead. The village was in turmoil and nobody could go out for two days. It was the police and military men who eventually came to restore peace.”
A source was also quoted to have said that the clash in Tungan Mallam occurred on Friday after a young man herded his cattle into a farm, destroying several crops.
The farm owners complained to the herdsmen but were struck down by the young man and other herdsmen.
Farmers in the community then came together and went on a reprisal attack, killing several herdsmen in the process.
The source said, “Government must take a bold step to solve this problem. Why must some people destroy the means of livelihood of others to earn their living? It is unfair.”
Confirming the attacks, the Benue state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala James, said, “It was the issue of herders going into farmers’ crops and damaging them. On July 7, at Bokuta village, there was an argument between the farmers and the herders and we learnt that a herder was killed and another one injured.”
“The next day, herders mobilised and went on a revenge mission. They killed three farmers and injured two. The situation was brought under control by the police anti-riot team and the military. Normalcy has been restored to the community. Two suspects – Landan Adamu and Muhammed Musa, were arrested.”
“On Sunday at Tungan Mallam village, some herdsmen also invaded a farm there and killed a farmer. Farmers in that locality also went on a reprisal and killed three herdsmen. Altogether, eight persons were killed.”
“To resolve these clashes, consultations are ongoing. We have invited both parties to a meeting. The state governor and the Commissioner of Police were at the meeting and a committee has been set up to discuss the matter and proffer a more lasting solution to the problem.”
The state governor, Sani Bello, who visited the two communities, has reacted to the killings, saying that the masterminds would be found and prosecuted.