Nairobi: At least 80 people were killed in an attack by armed men, thought to be members of the Fulani ethnic group, on villages in the central Nigerian state of Benue, according to parliamentarian and security sources.
The assailants destroyed houses and farmlands of the victims and forced hundreds of peasants to flee, according to reports on Monday in the Nigerian newspaper Leadership.
Eyewitnesses told the publication that the attack took place in the late afternoon on Sunday, when gunmen invaded the Egba community.
Alhaji Audu Sule, a lawmaker representing the Apa/Agatu state constituency, escaped the attack and told reporters that "the attackers who came in their hundreds killed scores and more than 80 corpses have so far been recovered".
According to Sule, the fugitives fled to neighbouring Ogbalu and Obagaji, the seats of the local Agatu government, while others remained displaced.
Investigations have been opened in order to arrest the attackers, said police official Hyacinth Dagala.
Clashes related to disputes over water and grazing lands are common in central Nigeria, which have caused thousands of deaths since early 1990.