Amnesty says 3,641 killed in Nigeria's farmer-herder crisis and government failures fuel it

The international human rights organisation attributes the escalation of the bloody clashes to the failures of Nigerian authorities to investigate the matter and bring perpetrators to justice.

Pallbearers carry coffins during the funeral service for people killed during clashes between cattle herders and farmers, on January 11, 2018, in Benue.

Amnesty International has disclosed that the conflict between farmers and herders across Nigeria resulted in at least 3,641 deaths in the past three years and the displace thousands.

The international human rights organisation attributed the escalation of the bloody clashes to the failures of Nigerian authorities to investigate the matter and bring perpetrators to justice.

The group made this known in a new report, “Harvest of Death: Three Years of Bloody Clashes Between Farmers and Herders”, released on Monday, December 17, 2018.

According to the report, 57% of the 3,641 recorded deaths occurred in 2018. “Security forces were often positioned close to the attacks, which lasted hours and sometimes days, yet were slow to act.

“In some cases, security forces had prior warning of an imminent raid but did nothing to stop or prevent the killings, looting and burning of homes,” the report states.

Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said the new report research shows that these attacks were well planned and coordinated, with the use of weapons like machine guns and AK-47 rifles.

The Nigerian government has displayed what can only be described as gross incompetence and has failed in its duty to protect the lives of its population and end the intensifying conflict between herders and farmers. The authorities’ lethargy has allowed impunity to flourish and the killings to spread to many parts of the country, inflicting greater suffering on communities who already live in constant fear of the next attack,” Ojigho added.

Amnesty International research covered clashes between farmers and herders from January 2016, between August 2017 and September 2018 in 10 field trips to 56 villages in five states.

The five states where attacks were most frequent in Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba and Plateau. Other parts of the country including Enugu, Ondo, Oyo, Delta and Edo also recorded attacks.

Amnesty urged the Nigerian authorities to immediately initiate independent, effective and impartial investigations into all human rights violations and abuses perpetrated during the farmers-herders conflicts, whether by state or non-state actors.

Read full report here


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