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ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian herdsmen armed with guns killed 20 farmers and injured eight other people in a mosque in the western central Niger state this weekend, police said on Monday.

Fighting over land use between semi-nomadic cattle herders and more settled communities, claims hundreds of lives a year in the middle belt and in the north of Nigeria. Last year, the government said preventing attacks was a security priority.

Bala Elkana, a spokesman for Niger state police, said the attack happened at about 05:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Saturday at Epogi community, in the Mokwa area of the state.

"It was a clash between farmers and herders which had been initially handled but some herders felt unsatisfied and ... they launched a reprisal attack on some villagers praying in a mosque," Elkana said. Three people had been arrested, he said.

Nigeria's poor transport and communications infrastructure can slow the speed at which reports of events in some rural communities are passed on.

(Reporting by Anamesere Igboeroteonwu in Onitsha; Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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Reuters