Bandits kill 200 in Zamfara state

At least, 200 people in Nigeria’s north-western Zamfara state have been killed in a wave of vicious attacks by armed militants, residents say.

The attacks are believed to be in response to military air strikes that killed more than 100 fighters on Monday and forced others from forest hideouts.

Gunmen burnt homes and mutilated the bodies of their victims in the assault.

A resident of one of the villages told the Reuters news agency that the militants were shooting “anyone on sight”.

The attacks are the latest in a wave of violent attacks in north-west Nigeria, where the central government has long been at war with a number of local criminal groups it has described as bandits.

These gangs are sophisticated network of criminals who operate across large swathes of territory, often stealing animals, kidnapping for ransom and killing those who confront them.

On Friday, it was initially reported that more than 100 people had been killed by suspected “bandit” militants in the region after some 300 gunmen on motorbikes arrived in as many as nine communities between Tuesday and Thursday night.

Idi Musa, a resident of another village, told the AFP news agency that the attackers also stole “around 2,000 cattle”.

Meanwhile, local media has reported that armed groups appeared to be abandoning hideouts in forested areas in response to sustained government attacks, instead moving towards the western part of Zamfara state. – BBC

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