At least 18 people were killed and dozens wounded in clashes in Niger between cattle Fulani herdsmen and farmers, officials informed AFP.
Women and children are, reportedly, among the victims of the violence that erupted on the morning of Tuesday, November 1, 2016 after a herd of cattle wandered into a farmer’s field and damaged the cereal crop, a local official said, asking not to be named.
The herdsmen are believed to be members of the Fulani Herdsmen militia, a cross continental terrorist group ranked as the 4th most deadly in the world.
Such clashes are not unusual in drought-hit Niger, where food shortages and scarce water supplies inflame tensions, especially during the harvest, which coincides with cattle being moved to pasture.
“The clashes were unusually violent, it was very barbaric,” the official told AFP. “It was the death of the owner of the field, in the first altercation, that set things off,” he added.
He said a significant number of women and children were killed, without providing a precise toll.
The interior ministry said 18 people were killed and another 43 wounded in the clashes, which happened in the western Tahoua region, adding that homes were also set on fire.
It said in a statement that security forces had restored order and an investigation was under way, while calling for calm.
The clashes come nearly two years after 10 people were killed in the same region in similar clashes between cattle herders and farmers.