At least 30 people have been killed by armed bandits who raided a village in Zamfara, police, and residents said Tuesday.
Motorcycle-riding gunmen attacked Kware village in Shinkafi district on Sunday night, opening fire on residents and burning homes.
“I can confirm 30 people were killed by the bandits in the attack in Kware,” Zamfara police spokesperson Mohammed Shehu told AFP.
Residents, however, gave a higher toll of 34, with many others still missing.
“We recovered 34 bodies after the attack and many more residents have not been accounted for,” said Kware resident Alu Wadatau said.
“They came around 4:00 pm and opened fire on the village, shooting anyone on sight and burning houses,” he said.
The attack came just three days after bandits killed 32 vigilantes in Kware, at a checkpoint set up by locals, police, and residents had told AFP.
The vigilantes were part of a militia force providing security for traders in the area, with besieged communities taking security into their own hands.
Deadly attacks have raged across the northwest where bandits have thrived.
Farming and herding communities in Zamfara and the wider region have long been terrorised by gangs who raid villages, stealing cattle and kidnapping residents for ransom.
Last week some 60 people died in multiple raids on rural villages in Zamfara and Sokoto State.
The repeat attacks on rural villages, often with little protection from security forces, have spurred a rise in armed vigilante groups.
Yet the groups have been accused of extrajudicial killings of suspected bandits, leading to reprisals and escalating insecurity.
In recent months the criminal gangs launched attacks in neighboring Kaduna and Katsina states, abducting residents for ransom.
On Saturday five villagers were killed in clashes with bandits in Sabon Sara village in Kaduna state’s Giwa district near the border with Zamfara, according to the police and residents.
Zamfara is a political stronghold for President Muhammadu Buhari, who won the state in recent presidential elections that handed him a second four-year term.
He has pledged to continue confronting Nigeria’s many security crises while giving few details.