The police in Benue State, in north-central Nigeria, have confirmed that three persons were killed in their farms by suspected Fulani cattle herders last Friday.
Catherine Anene, the spokesperson for the Benue Police Command, reportedly ascertained the incident, which took place at Adaka, a suburb of Makurdi, in the state capital.
The incident is being treated as a reprisal attack on the farmers for the killing of cattle belonging to the herders.
Col. Paul Hemba (retd.), the special adviser to the governor of Security, said the villagers discovered the corpses of the slain men on Saturday.
Hemba said, “When I was informed of the development, it was in the night (Friday), so we waited till Saturday morning and sent out patrols, including members of the community. In the course of the patrol, we discovered the corpses of the missing three persons brutally killed with machetes.
“The community is suspecting that Fulani herdsmen murdered the victims. This is because the herdsmen operate in their vicinity.
“Additionally, just last week, the Fulani herdsmen alleged that some of their cows which invaded people’s rice farms were killed in that community.
“The community is suspecting that the gruesome murder of the three was a reprisal.
“The people said they killed the cattle because they invaded their rice farms. Most times, these farms are cultivated with loans, which must be paid back after harvest.
“From the pictures we have, you can see that the animals that were killed were grazing freely on a large rice farm and probably the owner of the farm, out of anger and frustration, attacked and killed the cows. They killed the cattle and left them on the farms they destroyed.
“These are some of the terrible things farmers have been noticing; herders will push their cows into people’s yam, cassava and rice farms and watch them destroy and graze on them after which they will walk away. It’s painful that you will tend to your farm today and when you get there the next day, it is all eaten up by cows.”