David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi, says there are indications that herders are complicit in the recent attacks in the state.
About 15 people were killed during the attacks by gunmen in some communities in Ishielu LGA of Ebonyi.
Umahi said the herders “deserted” the affected communities before the attacks started.
He spoke on Sunday during a visit by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to the state.
The governor warned that the federal government may be unable to hold back the youths of the state if there is a repeat of the attacks.
He said there would have been reprisals if not for the swift intervention of the state government.
“Your excellency, we are touched and we are encouraged by this visit, I’m told the murderers left a telephone which contains their contacts, their call logs and pictures,” the governor said.
“Your excellency, these things are enough to get these people apprehended, very shocking is that at the point of the attack, all the herdsmen living in Ishielu local government all deserted.
“This means that they were part of the attack on our people despite the governors of the south-east being called names because we are committed to giving them protection.
“It is very important we do anything possible to forestall further attacks not only in Ebonyi state but in the entire south-east.”
Umahi also announced the activation of local vigilantes to provide internal security in parts of the state.