Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says he will punish all those behind deadly clashes between cattle herders and farmers.
“All those involved in the conflict that culminated in loss of lives would not escape justice, including any illegal armed militia,” said a statement released by his office.
Nigeria is home to 250 ethnic groups, divided almost equally between Christians, who are mainly agrarian communities, and Muslims, who are cattle herders. Violent conflicts between the two groups in the central and southern states have escalated since 2011, and the death toll is estimated at 2 500.
This year alone more than 80 people have been killed, sparking calls for intervention by the federal government. Opponents of Buhari, himself a Fulani, have accused him of failing to take action against the herders.
“All security wings have been directed to stop this mayhem,” read the statement from Buhari’s office.
Farmers and herders caught up in the violence have accused each other of fanning the violence. The International Crisis Group (ICG) attributed the violence to pressure for access to land and water, as well as the obstruction of traditional migration routes.