Gunmen attack governor's convoy in restive central Nigeria

March 12, 2014 - 2:21:12 pm

LAGOS: Gunmen in restive central Nigeria opened fire on the convoy of the governor of Benue state but no one was hurt in the incident, police said Wednesday. 

Benue falls in Nigeria's so-called "Middle Belt" which divides the mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north in Africa's most populous country.  

More than a decade of conflict between predominately Christian agrarian communities and herdsmen from the Muslim Fulani ethnic group has left thousands dead. 

"The governor's convoy was ambushed at the village of Tse Akenyi on Tuesday by suspected Fulani mercenaries but the attack was repelled by his security detail," state police spokesman Daniel Ezeala told AFP. 

He said Governor Gabriel Suswam was on his way to a displaced persons camp for victims of previous violence in the area.  

Fulani gunmen have been blamed for scores of attacks on political leaders in the Middle Belt, whom they accuse of discrimination, especially over access to land. 

The region is dominated by Christian political leaders, including some who have voiced open resentment over the growing Fulani presence in the region. 

Some locals officials have sought to portray the Fulani as intruders in the Middle Belt who have illegally appropriated land from the state's indigenous communities. (AFP)