At least 19 people were killed when armed men raided two villages in northwest Nigeria’s Kaduna state, the government said.
Late on Saturday, bandits riding on motorcycles killed 14 people and injured others when they invaded Kutemeshi where they looted shops, Internal Affairs Commissioner Samuel Aruwan said in a statement.
On the same day, motorbike-riding gunmen also stormed Kujeni where they killed five people and burned “several” houses, warehouses and a church, according to the statement.
Gunmen from kidnapping and cattle-rustling gangs – called bandits by locals – often raid villages in northwest Nigeria, stealing cattle, kidnapping for ransom and burning homes after looting them.
“Kaduna State Government has received reports from security agencies of the killing of 19 citizens by armed bandits at Kutemeshi village in Birnin Gwari and Kujeni village in Kajuru, where several others were left with bullet wounds,” Aruwan said.
But residents said 19 people were killed just in the raid in Kutemeshi.
“We lost 19 people in the attack. We buried them yesterday [Sunday],” said Kutemeshi resident Ayuba Abdullahi.
Last month, bandits killed 12 people and kidnapped 30 others in attacks on three villages in Birnin Gwari district and neighbouring Katsina state.
The gangs maintain camps in the Rugu forest straddling Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Niger states.
The gangs have no ideological leanings, but there are concerns that they may be gradually infiltrated by armed groups from the northeast.
Violence across the northwest has killed 8,000 people since 2011 and displaced more than 200,000, some into neighbouring Niger, according to a report last year by the International Crisis Group (ICG).
Related stories: Armed group captures military base in northeast Nigeria