At least 30 people were killed during raids on villages in northwest Nigeria in Zamfara the latest deadly attacks by cattle rustling and kidnapping gangs in the restive region, residents told AFP on Wednesday. Armed bandits on motorcycles stormed five neighbouring rural villages in the Maradun district of Zamfara state on Tuesday afternoon, firing indiscriminately and stealing livestock.
“We recovered 30 bodies from the attacks and we have so far buried 26 while four are being prepared for burial,” said Jabbi Labbo, a community leader in Gyadde, one of the villages attacked. “Seven persons were killed in Sakkida, four in Farin Zare, eight in Orawa, seven in Gyadde and four in Sabon Gari,” Labbo said. Seven other people were missing and presumed to have drowned in a nearby river while trying to “escape the carnage”, said Orawa resident Sule Mada, who gave a similar toll. “They attacked the villages simultaneously and took away a lot of cattle, sheep and goats,” Mada said. The police in Zamfara confirmed the attacks but said only three people were killed. “Some villages in Maradun local governments were attacked by bandits yesterday and three people were killed,” Zamfara state police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said. In Zamfara, cattle rustling and kidnapping for ransom have been increasing in recent years, with herding and farming communities targeted. Last week bandits on motorcycles killed 32 people in attacks in villages on both sides of the border between Zamfara and Sokoto state.