Bandit gunmen have killed at least 20 people in separate attacks in northwestern Nigeria, police said Wednesday, the latest violence in the restive region of Katsina.
Armed bandits on motorcycles stormed into a farming village on Tuesday, spraying the people with gunfire, Katsina state police spokesman Gambo Isah said.
“They killed 18,” Isah said.
That attack happened on at Yargamji village in Batsari district, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the state capital Katsina.
A self-defence militia from another village then chased the bandits, ending in a gun battle in the forest.
Police said the bodies of two militia members shot dead were brought back and buried from that fight, but residents said more people were killed.
“We lost 11 people who went to fight the bandits in the bush,” resident Sada Iro said.
There had also been attacks in a nearby village called Mara Zamfarawa, in which five residents were killed, Iro said.
Katsina state, 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Nigeria’s capital Abuja, has suffered from a string of violent attacks in recent months.
The gunmen, who appear to want cash and have no known ideological agenda, have carried out repeated raids on villages, stealing cattle and food, burning homes and kidnapping for ransom.
Rural communities have taken up arms to defend themselves.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, expressed shock over reports of killings in Katsina State.
The President directed Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu and Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin to constitute an assessment team to intervene immediately in the state and bring feedback.
Buhari said this in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
He also instructed the security chiefs to find out how the operation was carried out by the perpetrators, not minding the Holy month of Ramadan and put in place structures to prevent future occurrence.
The statement read in part: “The President, who has been briefed on the criminal and political intents of the attacks in Katsina and other parts of the North, described the carnage as senseless.
“He admonished that all those instigating violence in the North and other parts of the country will be exposed and made to face the wrath of the law.
“The President commiserated with the Governor and people of Katsina State over the losses.
“He prayed that Allah will comfort those who have lost loved ones.”
We reported that bandits on Tuesday attacked three local government areas in Katsina state which led to the death of over 30 persons.
Eighteen were reportedly killed in Yargamji in Batsari LGA, 5 killed in Mara Zamfarawa in Danmusa LGA and 11 killed in Sabon Layi village, Faskari LGA.