Gunmen have killed 21 villagers in northern Nigeria's Kaduna state, police said Friday, in the latest deadly violence between ethnic Fulani herders and local farmers over grazing and water rights, APA reports citing France 24.
Community leaders however said a higher total of 33 people were killed in the assaults on the remote five villages which took place early on Thursday.
Motorcycle-riding gunmen suspected to be Fulani herders stormed the villages in the predominantly Christian district of Zangon Kataf, shooting residents as they fled their homes, state police spokesman Mohammed Jalinge told AFP.
He said the assailants launched the attacks during a heavy downpour when residents, including local vigilantes, were in bed.
Jalinge said the attacks occurred despite a round-the-clock curfew in the area after violence between the two sides escalated in recent weeks.
The upsurge in killings prompted the state authorities to initiate a truce, but it has failed.
"It is unfortunate the tit-for-tat killings have continued unabated despite efforts by the authorities and civil societies to forge lasting peace among the warring parties," Jalinge said.
He said soldiers and policemen had been deployed to enforce the curfew and prevent further attacks.