A Nigerian police officer was killed and mutilated in an attack blamed on herdsmen, a police chief said on Tuesday, in the latest violence to hit the country’s contested central region.
The officers were ambushed on Saturday in the Logo area of Benue state, where nomadic herders and farmers have clashed in an increasingly bloody battle over land.
“One of our personnel was found brutally slaughtered with his two eyes, ears and nose removed,” Benue police commissioner Fatai Owoseni told reporters.
Another officer was still missing, he said, adding: “We embarked on recovery and rescue operation and restoration of security in the area.”
Owoseni said that one man has been arrested in connection with the ambush and that an assault rifle was recovered from the scene.
Herders were also suspected last week when three people were shot dead and four others were injured in the same area.
Nigeria’s central region has seen almost daily clashes between sedentary farmers — in this region, from the Tiv ethnic group who are Christians — and herders, who are mainly Fulani and Muslim.
More than 100 people have been killed since early January, with 100,000 fleeing their homes to safety, according to the local emergency management agency.
The Nigerian army has announced it will deploy reinforcements to several states to end the violence, including in Benue.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has been criticised for being too slow to address the crisis, which has been stoked by politicians along religious and ethnic lines.