Nigeria’s president called for calm after at least 86 people died in clashes between farmers and semi-nomadic herders over the weekend.
Authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in central Plateau state after the fighting, part of an escalation of clashes raging for years, often over dwindling fertile land.
A total of 86 people had died by Sunday state police spokesman Terna Tyopev said, raising the local government’s earlier estimate of 70.
Violence in Nigeria’s diverse Middle Belt states has now killed more people than the Islamist insurgency in Nigeria’s north-east, according to Reuters calculations.
Insecurity is a major electoral problem for President Muhammadu Buhari, who plans to seek re-election in February and won power on pledges to deliver peace and stability.
In a statement on the president’s official Twitter account, Buhari appealed for calm, adding “no efforts will be spared to bring perpetrators to justice and prevent a recurrence.”
Senior lawmakers lamented the state of Nigeria’s law enforcement systems.
“This further strengthens my constant call for an overhaul of the entire security apparatus of the country,” Yakubu Dogara, leader of Nigeria’s lower house of parliament, said in a statement.
Buhari’s party rejects criticism his administration is soft-peddling justice for the herders, who belong to the same ethnic group as the president.