Armed men suspected of belonging to gangs involved in cattle rustling and kidnapping attacked a village in Zamfara state leaving 10 people dead, a police spokesman said on Sunday.
Gunmen on motorcycles invaded onion fields on Saturday outside the village of Kware in the Shinkafi district and shot dead farmers at work, Mohammed Shehu said. “We received a report of an attack in Kware by bandits in which 10 people were killed,” Shehu said.
“Security personnel were dispatched to the area to restore order,” the spokesman said. He did not give details of the reason for the attack, but residents said it could be in reprisal for a recent military operation against the bandits in the area.
Last week troops deployed in the state to fight the criminal gangs raided two of their training camps in north and northwest Nigeria. “We believe they attacked to avenge the killings of their comrades by soldiers who destroyed two camps belonging the bandits,” said Kware resident Hashimu Abu.
The region has been repeatedly attacked by armed groups in recent months. In early March 30 people were killed in a reprisal attack following a military raid on the bandits. Farming and herding communities in Zamfara state have long been terrorised by gangs who raid villages, stealing cattle and kidnapping residents for ransom. President Muhammadu Buhari, while recently re-elected, has nevertheless been criticised for failing to protect people and property in the region.
In July last year Amnesty International said Zamfara state was “at the mercy” of armed criminal gangs, “who have killed hundreds of people over the last two years.”