A suspected bomb blast on Tuesday night between Nasarawa and Benue states in north central Nigeria killed dozens of cattle herders and injured several bystanders, a state government official and a spokesperson of the national cattle breeders said on Wednesday.
A group of Fulani herders were taking their cattle to Nasarawa from Benue, where the authorities had seized their cattle for violating anti-grazing laws, when the bomb blast took place.
Spokesperson of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Tasi’u Suleman said, “At least about 54 people died instantly. Those who were injured were countless.”
Though Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa governor, did not mention how many people were killed, he confirmed that an explosion was responsible for the tragedy.
Abdullahi Sule has not said who was behind the bombing but mentioned a meeting with security agencies “to ensure that we continue to douse tension” that the incident caused.
North-central Nigeria, also known as Middle Belt, experiences violence due to the conflicts between Fulani pastoralists and farmers, who are mostly Christians, often considered to be ethno-religious clashes.
Experts say that population growth and climate change lead to the expansion of the farming area, leaving less land area for nomads’ cattle herds for open grazing.
Abubakar Ladan, the governor’s spokesperson, informed the British news agency Reuters that earlier on Wednesday a mass burial was organized for those killed.