At least 88 villagers have been killed in an attack by a criminal group on Thursday amid cattle theft in northwestern Nigeria. These attacks, some of them targeting school children, are on the rise in the region.
Attack on seven villages in the northwest Nigeria Dozens of cattle thieves killed at least 88 people on Thursday, June 3, according to a new report released by police on Sunday, June 6.
“Initially 66 bodies were found, but a further 22 bodies have been recovered,” Kepi State Police spokesman Nafi Abu Bakar told AFP. Many residents are still missing and the number is likely to increase, he said, as research continues.
A spokesman said Saturday that the motorcycle attackers targeted the villages of Koro, Kimbi, Gaya, Timi, Juttu, Rafin Kora and Igunge in the Tango-Vasaku district on Thursday.
Police in the area were deployed to prevent further attacks from the criminal group, while residents of the affected villages fled their homes, he said.
Criminal groups close to jihadists
In April, nine police officers were killed in a shootout with gunmen inside a village in the Chagaba district. At the time, police said the attackers may have come from the neighboring states of Zambara or Niger.
For the past ten years or so criminal gangs known as “bandits” by the authorities have been threatening the people of northwestern and central Nigeria. They attack villages, steal livestock and smuggle locals or travelers off the roads.
They operate from camps located in the Ruku jungle, which includes the Nigerian states of Jambara, Katsina, Katuna and Niger.
Although some have pledged allegiance to jihadi groups in northeastern Nigeria hundreds of kilometers away, these bandits are initially driven by greed. Recently, these criminal groups landed Attacks targeting schools and universities, mass abduction of students in order to rescue them.