An estimated 200 or more people have been killed in villages in northwestern Nigeria’s Zamfara state during bloody revenge attacks by armed bandits following military air strikes on their hideouts this week, residents said on Saturday, Reuters quoted residents as saying.
They told Reuters that residents were able to reach the villages on Saturday after the army took over the communities to organize a mass burial. The state government said 58 people were killed during the attacks.
Umaru Makiri, a resident who lost his wife and three children during the attack, said about 154 people were buried, including several guards who were killed. Residents said the total number of dead was at least 200.
Reuters reported on Friday that at least 30 people were killed in the Anka local government area of Zamfara when more than 300 armed bandits on motorbikes stormed eight villages and started shooting sporadic on Tuesday. Read more
The military said it launched air strikes in the early hours of Monday morning on targets in Gosami forest and the western village of Tsamre in Zamfara state, killing more than 100 bandits including two of their commanders, following intelligence reports.
One resident, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that the attacks on the villages might be linked to the military strikes.
There have been a string of attacks in northwest Nigeria, which has seen a sharp rise in mass kidnappings and other violent crimes since late 2020 as the government struggles to maintain law and order.
In a separate incident, a spokesperson for the Kebbi governor said 30 students who had been kidnapped from their college in Nigeria’s northwestern Kebbi state were released on Saturday, without providing details.
President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement on Saturday that the military has acquired more equipment to track down and eradicate criminal gangs that expose people to a reign of terror, including through illegal taxation of besieged communities.