MAKURDI, Nigeria, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) At least 30 people were killed in a fresh ethnic violence in Nigeria's middle belt state of Benue over the weekend, sources reported on Monday.
More than 30 houses were razed, several farms and fish ponds were destroyed and many bodies were burnt beyond recognition in the clash between suspected Fulani herdsmen and native farmers in Agatu local government area of the state, according to Garus Gololo, scribe of the Benue Chapter of Miyette Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
"At least 20 Fulani people were killed in the fighting," he said.
Villagers living at the border of both Apa and Agatu communities in the area have begun to flee their homes, seeking refuge in neighboring villages and towns for fear of being killed in the clash, Gololo added.
In his account, Angus Inalegwu, a resident whose farmland was destroyed, said natives of Agatu were ambushed by the Fulani herdsmen.
More than 10 natives of Ojantele, Okpagabi and Ibadan communities of the Agatu local government area were killed in the onslaught, Inalegwu said.
"The unwarranted killing and destruction of houses, huts and farms by the herdsmen prompted a reprisal attack on Sunday at the Fulani settlement in a border village between Apa and Agatu, where a free for all ensued, leading to the death of many more people," he added.
Violence over land is common in Nigeria, where the majority of its 160 million people are subsistence farmers in rural areas. Every year, hundreds of people are killed in ethnic clashes
On March 5, at least 16 people were killed and 20 others wounded after Fulani herdsmen raided a remote village in the middle belt state, which is particularly volatile between the south of mostly Christians and the north dominated by Muslims.