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Burial held for 72 Nigerian Christian farmers killed by Fulani herdsmen

by Eno Adeogun

Sobs could be heard in many videos shared online from the thousands of residents who attended the ceremony held in Makurdi, Benue State capital to see the procession of coffins with crucifixes on them.

The clash between the mainly Muslim Fulani ethnic militants - groups of semi-nomadic herdsmen and Christian farmers happened on New Year's Day.

The governor of the state, Sam Ortom said during the service that the herdsmen "went on a rampage wielding machetes".


He also claimed the killings were done to intimidate the state government to repeal a controversial ban on open cattle grazing implemented in November, which Fulani herders have complained targets them unfairly.

Mr Onoja said that herdsman had a "misconception" the law was against them.

He went on to say: "[Until now] Fulani herders have been a law unto themselves.

"We want them to adopt ranching. These clashes result from the encroachment of cattle on farmers' land."

Some of the residents told local news reporters they were worried about the effect incessant attacks on farmers in the state would have on the state's economy which heavily relies on agriculture.

Violence between Christian farmers and Fulani herdsmen has claimed thousands of lives across Nigeria's central states over the past few decades.

However, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) told Premier that the herdsmen are attacking and not clashing with Christians.

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