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YOLA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Muslim cattle herders are suspected of killing four police officers in the northeastern Nigerian state of Adamawa, a police official said on Friday.

The four officers were killed on Thursday night defending a village in the Numan region from the herdsmen, who attacked the settlement as a reprisal for an earlier deadly clash, said Othman Abubakar, a police spokesman for the state.

In the earlier clash, unidentified attackers killed more than 30 cattle herders in Numan.

Numan has recently become a flashpoint for clashes between the herders and Christian farmers, which occur frequently across broad swathes of Nigeria, as each group contests the other's rights to land for pasture and agriculture.

(Reporting by Emmanuel Ande; writing by Paul Carsten; editing by Larry King)

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Reuters