Farmers-Herdsmen Clashes: 3,600 People Killed In 24 Months – Amnesty
The human cost of the clashes between farmers and herdsmen that has lingered since 2016 has been estimated at 3,600 by rights group, Amnesty International, AI.
Most of that figure came from the casualties recorded this year, said Amnesty on Monday, in a report documenting an upsurge in violence in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian authorities’ failure to investigate communal clashes and bring perpetrators to justice has fueled a bloody escalation in the conflict between farmers and herders across the country, resulting in at least 3,641 deaths in the past three years and the displacement of thousands more,” Amnesty said in a statement.
There has not been any official comment from either the Nigerian military, the police or the federal government.
Of the 310 attacks recorded between January 2016 and October 2018, 57% were in 2018, the rights group said.
After a quieter wet season in the rainy season, experts now fear clashes could surge again as the dry season begins, forcing herders to move south towards greener land and water supplies, often across farmland.
But the most fear is that any increase in violence would coincide with the February 2019 vote.
“These attacks were well planned and coordinated, with the use of weapons like machine guns and AK-47 rifles,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty’s Nigeria director.
“Yet, little has been done by the authorities in terms of prevention, arrests and prosecutions, even when information about the suspected perpetrators was available,” she said.
Another group, the International Crisis Group, had said earlier in July that the farmer-herder conflict killed six times more people than the war with the Boko Haram insurgency in the first half of 2018.
“In some places, because of the failures of the security forces, competition over resources is used as a pretext to kill and maim along ethnic or religious lines,” Ojigho said.
“The conflict has also been dangerously politicised by some state government officials who have inflamed tensions by embarking on a blame game along political party lines,” added Ojigho.
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