Suspected bandits have killed at least 83 persons in attacks across villages in Zamfara State with hundreds of others, including women and children, injured.
According to eyewitness accounts by displaced people, officials and residents of the affected communities, most of the attacks, which appeared coordinated, happened on Wednesday in Gusau, Maradun and Bakura local government areas of the troubled North-west state.
Earlier, there were reports of attacks and apprehension in the Dansadau district of Maru Local Government area following the killing of 20 people in separate attacks by rival groups in the area.
Aside from other reports, the sole administrator of Bakura local government, Aminu Suleiman, also told reporters that over 30 people were killed in attacks in Bakura and Maradun.
Mr Suleiman, however, said the deaths were recorded over days of reprisal attacks between members of outlawed vigilante groups and bandits.
In Magami district, residents Thursday morning said they had recovered 53 corpses. They said the attackers moved from village to village, unleashing mayhem, unchallenged.
There was tension in the area over fears that the gunmen would return to disrupt the burial of those killed. Residents said many of those killed were vigilantes who tried to defend their villages against the bandits.
As of the time of filing this report, the residents of many communities were yet to bury their dead as more corpses were being discovered in the area.
Residents said the assailants carried sophisticated weapons and raided the villages on motorbikes. They said most of the villages had earlier been deserted following incessant attacks but that some villagers were returning for the farming season.
The affected communities include Gobirawa, Gora, Rini and Madoti Dankule of Maradun and Bakura local government areas.
In the Magami district of Gusau Local Government Area, the affected communities include ‘Yar Doka, Kango, Ruwan Dawa, Madaba, Arzikin Da and Mairairai, the closest of which is seven kilometres from Gusau town.
Governor Bello Matawalle has expressed his sadness over the unfortunate incidents.