Clashes between farmers and herders kill 18 in Niger

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Eighteen people were killed and 20 others were wounded on Tuesday in violence in Niger that pitted itinerant cattle herders against farmers, officials said.

The clashes broke out near the village of Bangui along the West African nation’s southern border with neighboring Nigeria after livestock belonging to ethnic Fulani herders damaged the field of a farmer.

“The nomadic herders fought with a farmer, whom they wounded. He was taken to the medical center and everything started from there,” said Oumarou Mohamane, Bangui’s mayor.

A group of farmers then attacked the Fulani camp in reprisal. Around 15 houses were burned.

“It required the intervention of the police to stop the villagers,” the mayor said.

A second government official confirmed the details of the incident.

Violent clashes between farmers and nomadic herders are a relatively common occurrence across West Africa, where there is competition over resources including land and water.

Reporting by Boureima Balima; editing by Grant McCool