A Nigerian flag is seen outside Nigeria Trade Office after Nigerian request to Taiwan to relocate its representative office in the African country, in Taipei

Abuja - At least nine people were killed when suspected herdsmen attacked farmers in north-central Nigeria, police said Friday.

Numerous others were injured in the attack on the village of Tse Ujoh in Benue State, said the state's police chief, Moses Yamu.

The spokesman of Benue State's governor said three people were arrested in connection with the attack, while soldiers had been dispatched to the affected area.

"They stormed the community in their usual military style and started shooting at everyone in sight and there was confusion all over the place as the people ran for their lives," a school teacher in the village, Member Laha, told dpa via telephone.

"They were heavily armed with [automatic] rifles," Laha added.

Violence between farmers and herders killed 1,300 civilians in the first half of 2018, six times more than the Boko Haram insurgency, according to research organization International Crisis Group (ICG).

The conflict is fundamentally a land-use contest between farmers and herders across the Nigeria's middle belt, mostly affecting the states of Adamawa, Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba.

It has taken on dangerous religious and ethnic dimensions, as most of herders are from the traditionally nomadic and Muslim Fulani group, while most farmers are Christians of various ethnicities.

Since the violence escalated in January 2018, an estimated 300,000 people have fled their homes, according to the ICG.