From Thursday to Friday, scores of gunmen on motorcycles, known locally as bandits, attacked the villages of Kadawa, Kwata, Maduba, Ganda Samu, Saulawa and Askawa in the Zurmi district, sources cited by Zurmi said on Saturday. the AFP press agency.
The gang shot locals, attacked farmers in their fields, and pursued others who fled to escape the assaults.
Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said 14 bodies were taken to the state capital Gusau on Friday and added that “police officers [were] deployed in the area following the attacks.
Local residents said 39 other bodies were recovered and buried in the nearby town of Dauran.
“We recovered 28 bodies yesterday and 11 others this morning in the villages and buried them here,” said Haruna Abdulkarim, resident of Dauran.
“It was dangerous to organize the funeral there because the bandits take shelter in the forest of Zurmi and could come back to attack the funeral,” said another resident, Musa Arzika, who reported the same number of dead.
Villages in Zurmi district have been the target of repeated raids by bandits, and local residents blocked a major road last week, calling on authorities to end the attacks.
In recent years, northwest and central Nigeria has fallen prey to gangs of cattle thieves and kidnappers who attack villages, kill and kidnap residents in addition to stealing livestock after looting and burning houses.
Criminals began to focus on raiding schools and kidnapping students for ransom.
More than 850 students have been kidnapped since December, but most have been released after a ransom has been paid.
In a program that aired Friday, Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle urged residents to defend themselves against “killer bandits”.
The increase in violent crime in the northwest has compounded the challenges Nigeria faces in the northern states, which are generally poorer than those in southern Africa, the most populous country of around 210 millions of inhabitants.
A ten-year-old armed campaign in the northeast has killed more than 30,000 people and forced at least two million people to flee their homes, creating one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Nearly 700,000 people were internally displaced in northwest and north-central Nigeria in February, including more than 124,000 in Zamfara alone, according to the United Nations migration agency. , IOM.
Aid agencies are also warning that the spiral of violence has led to an increase in sexual violence, as gunmen assault some of their kidnapped victims.