Suspected Fulani herdsmen killed around 50 people and wounded several others in Benue state early on Tuesday, January 2 (local time). Local and international media sources published conflicting reports on the location(s) and number of attacks carried out by the Fulani herdsmen on January 2. Some sources have suggested that the herdsmen launched a single attack in Tse Igbudu Taraka, while other sources claimed that coordinated attacks were launched in six villages and towns in Guma and Logo local government areas.
A heightened security presence has reportedly been deployed in the affected areas, and many residents have fled for fear of further violence. Additional Fulani attacks on communities in Benue state are possible in the coming days and weeks.
Intercommunal clashes are common in Nigeria, especially between nomadic and settled communities. A recent uptick in attacks launched by suspected herdsmen on settled communities has followed the implementation of an anti-open grazing law in November 2017. These kinds of clashes have been known to break out in the central Middle Belt region - e.g. in Plateau, Bauchi, Benue, Kaduna, and Nassawara states - as well as in the south, where casualties are regularly reported. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom reported that murder rates linked to ethnic violence are higher than those related to terrorism, also a major security concern in the country.
Individuals in Benue state are advised to monitor developments to the situation and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
In general, 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 Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Jigawa as well as parts of Kano and Adamawa states) and the southern Niger Delta region (e.g. states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers). Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to these areas.