At least 57 people have been killed by “bandits” in a series of attacks against villages in northwestern Nigeria.
A series of attacks on villages in northwestern Nigeria left at least 57 dead Tuesday, June 9. About 150 armed men on motorcycles shot residents before looting shops and stealing cattle in a series of attacks against six isolated villages in the state of Katsina.
“We lost a total of 57 people in six villages,” said a local official who spoke on condition of anonymity on Wednesday for fear of reprisals.
In the most affected village of Kadisau, “bandits,” as locals call them, killed 33 people, said one of the villagers, Mohammed Salisu, who claims to have escaped by abandoning his motorcycle and hiding for the five hours of the attack and looting. “They looted all the stalls and took away 200 cattle,” he said, adding that he himself dropped seven cows.
Attacks fired on a football pitch where young men watched a match, said Sada Audi resident of a nearby village. Residents said that 24 more were killed in the villages of Hayin Kabalawa, Garke, Makera, Kwakwere and Maiganguna. Twenty people were also injured by gunshots, residents say.
An outbreak of violence
Northwestern Nigeria is at the center of rising violence, carried out by armed groups, often known as “bandits” in this region, who terrorize the population, steal livestock and kidnap for ransom.
The Nigerian Army regularly starts military air operations, but due to the absence of security forces in the region, the populations, often encouraged by the local political authorities, had to organize themselves in militia to defend themselves.
Last week, 21 people were killed by “bandits” in a series of similar attacks. Since 2011, this violence has left 8,000 people dead and more than 200,000 displaced.
The “bandits” did not act under any ideological influence until now, but the International Crisis Group (ICG), and various security observers are worried that northwest of Nigeria could become a “bridge” between the various jihadist movements in the Sahel and the Chad Sea region, in eastern Nigeria , where Boko Haram is widespread.