Nigeria: dozens of villagers killed by cattle thieves

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Armed cattle thieves killed 53 people in a raid on six villages in Zamfara state in northwest Nigeria, police and residents said on Saturday.

A criminal gang of cattle thieves carried out a massacre in a raid on six villages in the state of Zamfara, in northwestern Nigeria. At least 53 people were killed in the attack, police and residents said on Saturday (June 12).

Dozens of armed men arrived on motorcycles invaded the villages of Kadawa, Kwata, Maduba, Ganda Samu, Saulawa and Askawa in the Zurmi district, before killing their inhabitants.

They attacked the victims who were working on their farms before chasing those who tried to escape.

Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said fourteen bodies were taken to the state capital of Zamfara.

“Police officers were deployed in this area after the attacks,” added the spokesperson.

“We evacuated 14 bodies and took them to Gusau on Friday evening, where they were buried in Unguwar Gwaza cemetery,” the spokesperson added.

Residents said, for their part, that 39 other bodies had been buried in the nearby town of Dauran.

“We found 28 bodies yesterday and 11 more this morning in the villages before burying them here,” said Dauran resident Haruna Abdulkarim.

“It was dangerous to organize a funeral because of the bandits hiding in the forest of Zurmi and who could have returned to attack the funeral,” said another resident, Musa Arzika, who reported the same toll of victims.

Villages located in the region of Zurmi are regularly targeted by criminal gangs that can assemble hundreds of bandits. The violence prompted residents to express their discontent and block the main local road last week, calling on the authorities to stop the attacks.

Cattle thefts and kidnappings

North West and Central Nigeria has been the scene of attacks in recent years by cattle-robbing gangs and kidnappers who raided villages, killed and kidnapped people, stole food. cattle after looting and burning their homes.

Criminal gangs have recently reoriented their raids on schools, kidnapping pupils and students for ransom.

More than 850 students have been kidnapped since last December, but the vast majority have been released after a ransom was paid.

The gangs are largely motivated by greed, without any particular ideology, but observers fear they may be infiltrated by jihadists, who have waged a violent insurgency in the northeast of the country for 12 years.

Military operations and amnesty offers have not ended these attacks.

Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle called on residents to defend themselves “against the murderous bandits”.

With AFP

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