On Monday, August 20, a Nigerian military spokesperson announced that violent clashes broke out between herders and security forces in Benue state on Saturday, August 18, and Sunday, August 19. According to reports, the clashes broke out on August 18 in Guma along the Gbajimba-Akor Tomata road, leading to the deaths of at least 15 armed herders and one Nigerian soldier. Further clashes were also reported on August 19 in Tse Akwaza. Additional clashes are possible int Benue state in the coming days and weeks.
Ethnic and sectarian clashes are common in Nigeria. Central Nigeria and adjacent areas have become the scene of almost daily clashes between farmers and the largely nomadic herders in a battle for land and resources. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom recently reported that murder rates linked to ethnic violence in Nigeria are higher than those related to terrorism - also a major security concern in the country.
Individuals in Benue state are advised to monitor the situation, remain vigilant, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
The security environment in Nigeria is complex and is particularly concerning in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Some Western governments consequently advise against travel to certain areas of the northeast (e.g. states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Jigawa, and Kano states) and the southern Niger Delta region (e.g. states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers). It is also advisable to avoid nonessential travel to Zamfara, Sokoto, Plateau, and Kaduna states. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to these areas.
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