The chairman of Otukpo local government (Benue state town), Ruben Bako, reported that gunmen killed 47 people on Wednesday in Umogidi village, Benue state.
Benue state police confirm the attack stating that the assailants opened fire in a market. Although the causes of the attacks are unclear, authorities point to land disputes between farming communities and nomadic herders.
While no claim of responsibility for the attack has been raised, police fingered Fulani herders, who are in dispute with farmers over land control.
It is a decades-long conflict in the northwest and central regions of Nigeria, with Benue State heavily affected due to its abundant harvests in a region of widespread poverty and hunger.
Frequent clashes in Benue have led to a reduction in agricultural yields. Humanitarian organizations warn that the region’s crisis affecting crops and food production could lead to food insecurity among the population.
Radical groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State operate in the northern and central regions of the country. With more than 210 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country on the African continent.