MAKURDI: Five people have been killed in fresh clashes between farmers and nomadic herders in Benue state in central Nigeria, the epicentre of a wave of deadly violence this year over grazing land, police said Monday.
"Just yesterday we had a case where two persons were reportedly killed in a village in the Agatu local government area," said Benue State Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni.
Three more people were killed in the region over the weekend, he added.
The state lies in Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt that separates the predominantly Muslim north from the largely Christian south.
The area has long been a hotbed of ethnic, sectarian and religious tensions between indigenous farming communities, who are mainly Christian, and the nomadic Hausa/Fulani cattle herders, who are Muslim.
Tensions have boiled over access to land and resources, escalating into a rift that has deepened along nominally religious lines.
The Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) said Monday that "no fewer than 80,450 children" are currently living in displaced persons camps established for victims of the fighting.
In all 175,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Benue since the start of the year, most of whom are now in the camps.