Nigerian authorities say unidentified gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have killed over 70 people in the past two weeks in central Benue State.

The state government said Monday the attacks are thought to be part of an ongoing dispute between herdsmen and local farmers over grazing lands.

But the spokesman of the Benue State Police Command, Moses Yamu, says only 22 people have been killed and that peace has been restored.

The coordinator of cattle breeders in Benue state, Alhaji Garus Gololo, said his herdsmen were innocent and instead had been infiltrated by "criminals."

Several such clashes have been reported in recent months. In February, hundreds of people were killed in Benue state.

President Muhammadu Buhari's proposal to establish grazing land to prevent further clashes has been widely rejected.