(Abuja) At least 37 people were killed in Friday’s attack on a camp for displaced people in north-central Nigeria, the second massacre in the region this week, local authorities said on Saturday.
The attack, on a school that was housing displaced families in Benue state, came after gunmen attacked a village in the same state earlier this week and killed up to 50 people.
The motives for the killings remain unclear, but local authorities have blamed nomadic herders of the Fulani ethnic group, who have long clashed with sedentary farmers in Benue province over access to land and resources.
“My security adviser has confirmed to me that 37 people have been killed,” Benue state governor Samuel Ortom told AFP by phone.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who will leave power in May after two terms, on Saturday condemned the massacre and assured that efforts were being made to end this “extreme violence”.
“The President has condemned the use of terrorism as a tool in intercommunal conflicts, urging that the attackers be found and brought to justice,” a presidential statement read.
Benue province is one of the hardest hit by years of clashes between nomadic herders and farmers who blame herdsmen for letting their cattle graze on their land.
These conflicts often escalate into clashes between armed militias created to protect rival communities.
The fight against insecurity will be a major challenge for the new president Bola Tinubu, who won the presidential election in February.
Law enforcement is still struggling to try to end a 14-year-old jihadist conflict in the northeast of the country that has killed at least 40,000 and displaced more than two million people.