A local official said gunmen on motorbikes entered three villages in coordinated attacks, shooting people dead as they tried to flee.
Gunmen killed at least 48 people in attacks on three villages in northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara statea local official and resident said.
On Sunday, Aminu Suleiman, the administrative head of Bakura district, where the villages are located, said dozens of gunmen on motorbikes coordinated attacks on three villages, shooting people dead as they tried to run. hide.
“A total of 48 people were killed by bandits in 3 villages [Damri, Kalahe and Sabon Garin] hit on Friday afternoon,” Suleiman said.
Hardest hit was Damri, where gunmen killed 32 people, Suleiman told AFP. The victims included patients at a hospital.
“They set fire to a police patrol car, killing two security officers.”
Since 2010, gangs of robbers have been rioting in large swaths of northern Nigeria, but it is only in the last few years that the crisis has gained national notoriety in the most populous country. Africa.
The term “bandits” is a term used to refer to the criminal gangs that masterminded kidnappings, assaults, sexual violence and kill citizens across the north of the country.
Data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project shows that the robber was responsible for more than 2,600 civilian deaths in 2021 – far more deaths caused by the militant groups Boko Haram and Islamic State in the West African province in the same year – and nearly triple the number of victims in 2020.
Suleiman said troops deployed on three villagers were confronted by bandits with assailants in a gunfight, forcing them to retreat.
Abubakar Maigoro, a Damri resident, said gunmen who attacked his village opened fire before looting livestock and food supplies.
“We have buried 48 people who were killed in the attacks,” Maigoro said.
Nigerian police did not respond to a request for comment.
Criminals have recently stepped up their attacks despite military campaigns targeting their hideouts.
The so-called bandits maintains camps in a large forest, spanning the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger.
In the past two months, they have attacked a train traveling between the capital Abuja and the city of Kaduna, kidnapping dozens of passengers; massacred more than 100 villagers; and killed dozens of members of vigilance groups.
At the beginning of January, gunman killed more than 200 people in the state of Zamfara.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army commander, has come under great pressure to end gang violence before he leaves office next year at the end of his two terms in power.
Buhari called on security forces to “do all they can to put an immediate end to the horrific killings”.
“Rural people in Zamfara and elsewhere must be allowed to have peace,” he said in a statement Sunday.
Officials in Zamfara say more than 700,000 people have been displaced by the violence, prompting eight camps to open to serve them.
The escalating violence has also caused thousands of people to flee to neighboring Niger, with more than 11,000 seeking refuge in November, according to the United Nations.