The death toll rose during several attacks this week in Zamfara state in northwestern Nigeria, aarea rural area where criminal armed groups have been terrorizing the population for months, reaching over 200 people.
For years, areas of central and north-western Nigeria have witnessed clashes between shepherds and farmers for control of the land, and some groups have become criminal gangs called “bandits” spreading fear in local communities.
“We buried 143 people who were killed by bandits in the attacks,” said community leader Balarab Alhaji. in one of the affected villages in the state of Zamfara.
Hundreds of armed men in motorcycles attacked ten villages in Anka and Bukoyom districts on Wednesday and Thursday, shooting locals and ransacking and burning homes, residents said. Security officials and services have not yet commented on the attacks.
Citizen Babandi Hamido, who lives in the village of Korfa Dania, said gunmen who stormed the village were shooting “everyone they saw.”
Hamido added that “more than 140 people have been buried in the ten villages, while the search for more bodies continues because many people are missing”.
Last week, the Nigerian government included gangs on the terrorist lists, which means harsher penalties for convicted militants, whistleblowers and their supporters.
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