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Gunmen attack Nigerian village and claim the lives of more than 50 people.

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Gunmen killed at least 50 people during two attacks on a village in north-central Nigeria, the authorities announced Friday.

Ruben Bako, the head of the Otukpo local government where the massacre took place, said gunmen killed 47 people on Wednesday in Omogede village of Benue state. He said that the day before that, three other people had been killed in the same place.

Anene Sowezi of the Benue state police confirmed the attack and said the attackers opened fire on a market. But Swayze put the death toll at eight, including a police officer.

“The 46 dead were from the bodies of the victims that were found and recovered. Many people are still missing, so the death toll could be higher,” Paul Himba, security adviser to the governor of Benue state, told AFP.

It was not immediately clear what motivated the attacks, though authorities have said they believe both attacks are linked. While no one has claimed responsibility for the incident, authorities said suspicions fell on local herdsmen who have clashed in the past with farmers over land disputes in north-central Nigeria.

The farmers accuse the shepherds, most of whom are of Fulani origin, of grazing their livestock on their farms and destroying their crops. Pastoralists insist that lands are ways of grazing that were first supported by law in 1965, five years after the country gained its independence.

Benue State, referred to as the “food basket of Nigeria” due to its bountiful crops, is one of the regions hardest hit in the decades-old clashes between farming communities and nomadic cattle herders across Nigeria’s northwest and central regions.

Agricultural yields from the state have declined over the years due to these frequent clashes, adding pressure to families in an area where many are poor and hungry.

The sectarian violence is just one of the security challenges facing President-elect Bola Tinubu, who won a presidential ballot last month marked by severe delays and accusations of voter fraud.

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