Armed bandits have killed 11 people in separate attacks in northern Nigeria, a community leader and residents said Tuesday.
In the first incident on Monday, six vigilantes were killed when gunmen invaded Kakangi village in the restive Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna state.
The vigilantes had intercepted the gunmen with a large herd of cattle they stole from nearby Niger state, the sources said.
“The cattle rustlers killed six vigilantes in a gunfight to reclaim the stolen herd,” Abdullahi Bature, a spokesman for the traditional chief of Birnin Gwari, told AFP.
“The vigilantes mobilised and engaged the cattle rustlers in a fight to reclaim the cows,” but were over-powered, said resident Abdullahi Sara.
Separately on the same day, around 100 motorcycle-riding gunmen stormed several villages in neighbouring Zamfara state, shooting and looting homes before setting them ablaze, said witnesses.
The bandits attacked Yar Talata village where they killed four residents and moved to neighbouring Dan-Fili where they shot dead one person, they said.
“They rode into our village around 5:00 pm shooting indiscriminately. They killed four people,” Yar Talata resident Sahabi Ummaru told AFP.
The gang moved to Dan-Fili, killing one person, before raiding five other neighbouring villages, he said.
“We returned to our homes later and buried the five people they killed,” added another resident who gave his name as Bube.
Farming communities in Zamfara State, as well as Birnin Gwari in nearby Kaduna state, have been repeatedly attacked by criminal gangs who steal cattle and kidnap villagers for ransoms.
The gangs usually launch attacks from the vast Rugu forest which straddles Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger states.
Most communities have formed vigilante groups to fight the bandits.
Even the deployment of troops has failed to end the activities of the bandits, prompting the authorities to offer amnesty them in exchange for a fragile peace.
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