‘Bandits’ kill 48 in attacks in northwest Nigeria: Local authorities | crime news

Gunmen on motorcycles entered three villages in coordinated attacks, shooting people trying to flee, a local official said.

Gunmen killed at least 48 people in attacks on three villages in Nigeria’s northwestern state of Zamfara, a local official and residents said.

Dozens of gunmen on motorcycles entered the three villages in coordinated attacks, shooting people trying to flee, Aminu Suleiman, administrative chief of Bakura district, where the villages are located, said on Sunday.

“A total of 48 people were killed by the bandits in the three villages [Damri, Kalahe and Sabon Garin] attacked on Friday afternoon,” Suleiman said.

The hardest hit was Damri, where gunmen killed 32 people, Suleiman told AFP. The victims included patients in a hospital.

“They burned a police patrol vehicle, killing two security guards.”

Since 2010, gangs of thieves have been rioting across vast swaths of northern Nigeria, but it is only in recent years that the crisis has gained national prominence in Africa’s most populous country.

The term “bandits” is an umbrella term for the criminal gangs that plan frequent attacks of kidnapping, mutilation, sexual violence and murder of citizens in the northern parts of the country.

Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project data shows that bandits were responsible for more than 2,600 civilian deaths in 2021 – far more than those attributed to the Boko Haram rebel groups and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province in the same year – and nearly three times the number of victims in 2020.

Troops sent to the three villagers raided on Friday by bandits engaged the attackers in a firefight, forcing them to retreat, Suleiman said.

Abubakar Maigoro, a resident of Damri, said gunmen who attacked his village began shooting before looting livestock and food supplies.

“We buried 48 people killed in the attacks,” Maigoro said.

Nigerian police did not respond to requests for comment.

Criminals have recently stepped up their attacks despite military operations against their hideouts.

So-called bandits maintain camps in a vast forest, straddling the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger.

In the last two months, they attacked a train traveling between the capital Abuja and the city of Kaduna, kidnapping dozens of passengers; massacred more than 100 villagers; and killed a dozen members of vigilante groups.

In early January, gunmen killed more than 200 people in Zamfara state.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army commander, is under intense pressure to end gang violence before stepping down next year at the end of his two terms in power.

Buhari urged security forces to “do everything they can to put an immediate end to the horrific killings”.

“The rural population in Zamfara and elsewhere must have peace,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

Officials in Zamfara say more than 700,000 people have been displaced by the violence, leading to the opening of eight camps to accommodate them.

Escalating violence has also forced thousands to flee to neighboring Niger, with more than 11,000 seeking refuge in November, according to the United Nations.

Leave a Comment