By Rafiu Ajakaye
Police have confirmed 22 persons were killed in fresh violence between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria, prompting some locals to accuse the central government of covering up the killings – and alleged far higher numbers of casualties.
Benue state police spokesman Moses Yamu told Anadolu Agency on Monday: “We have reports that 22 people have died in the past few days in the Logo and Ukum local government areas following attacks by unidentified gunmen on some communities. Investigations have commenced into these incidents.”
But some locals claimed that at least 70 persons were murdered in attacks which began last week and continued throughout the weekend.
A local TV station – Channels Television – quoted Jimmy Meeme, a traditional leader in Logo, saying that 70 people were massacred in six of the 10 wards under him.
The station also quoted local sources as saying similar attacks resulted in multiple deaths in Ukum.
Anadolu Agency could not independently confirm these claims.
Daniel Torcka, a student in Logo, told Anadolu Agency that “well over five dozens died in these attacks,” which he claimed have been “almost become a feature of living in this part of the world”.
“This wasn't a one-off attack, so to speak. It has been consistent and nobody seems to be doing anything,” Torcka added.
The latest violence comes barely four months after over 100 people were murdered in similar clashes in Benue, a farming axis in Nigeria’s crisis-prone Middle Belt.
Amid the latest killings, a gory picture of a woman purportedly hacked to death by herdsmen has sparked online criticisms of the government's handling of internecine conflict in the region.
Nigerians’ discussion of the violence was trending on Twitter on Monday, with several commentators accusing the government of keeping quiet about the latest killings.
At the time of publication, the government had yet to comment on the deaths.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.