Abuja, Nigeria, June 8 – Gunmen stormed a market place and a football field in a rural town in central Nigeria over the weekend, killing at least 27 people and leaving others wounded, state police said on Tuesday.
Police in Benue state were still investigating the attack, but Benue is part of the Middle Belt region where communal clashes are common between nomadic herders and local farmers over land, grazing and water.
The attack hit the Agatu area on Sunday around 6pm (1700 GMT) when locals were just closing up the market after trading, a Benue state police spokeswoman said.
She said investigations were ongoing into motives for the attack.
Heavily-armed criminal gangs in northwest and central Nigeria also often loot villages, steal cattle and kidnapping for ransom.
Last week, at least 88 people were killed when gunmen on motorcycles attacked seven villages in Danko-Wasagu district in northwest Kebbi state.
Gangs in the northwest this year have stepped up attacks on schools and colleges, kidnapping hundreds of students to demand ransoms from authorities and parents.
Attacks in northwest and central Nigeria are just part of the challenge facing President Muhammadu Buhari’s security forces who have been locked in a war with jihadists in the country’s northeast for more than a decade.