The United Nations said Thursday that it stands ready to support efforts to help resolve tensions between farmers and nomadic herders in areas of West and Central Africa, which in recent days have led to the deaths of some 200 people in Nigeria.
The news comes as Nigerian authorities announced the arrest of 17 people in connection with the deaths in Plateau State in the Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos communities. President Muhammadu Buhari visited the region earlier this week, and has implemented security measures that include increased deployment of police and Nigerian military forces to the region.
The Nigerian government also authorized new funding to support affected farming communities impacted by the violent land disputes.
Yet the UN notes the clashes between Fulani herdsmen and primarily Christian farmers are part of a long-standing issue, with similar incidents occurring in other countries in Africa that have caused more than 1,000 deaths over the past year alone.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed deep concern over the mounting violence, as well as extortion and other criminal activity tied to the conflicts.
“He condemns the resulting loss of life, property and livelihoods, as well as population displacement, which undermines peaceful coexistence between communities in many of the affected countries. It is also detrimental to regional stability,” the statement said.
The UN chief urged all concerned governments, regional organizations, civil society and other parties to work together to find solutions to the conflicts.
Image: Government of Nigeria