Police and civilian witnesses detailed that this latest act of violence hit in the restive region involved attacks on the villages of Kadawa, Kwata, Maduba, Ganda Samu, Saulawa and Askawa in the Zurmi district, whose local residents were shot by motorcycle-riding criminals.
The gang attacked farmers in their fields and pursued others who fled to escape the assaults.
Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said 14 bodies had been taken to the state capital Gusau on Friday, and added that ‘policemen deployed in the area following the attacks.’
Local residents said 39 more bodies had been recovered and buried in the neighboring town of Dauran.
‘We recovered 28 bodies yesterday and 11 more this morning from the villages and buried them here,’ said Dauran resident Haruna Abdulkarim. ‘It was dangerous to conduct the funeral there because the bandits are harbouring in the Zurmi forest and could return to attack the funeral,’ said another resident, Musa Arzika who reported the same death toll.
Villages in the Zurmi district have been repeatedly raided by bandits, and local residents blocked a major highway last week, calling on the authorities to put an end to the attacks.
Northwest and central Nigeria have in recent years fallen prey to gangs of cattle thieves and kidnappers who raid villages, killing and kidnapping residents in addition to stealing livestock after looting and burning homes.
The criminals have begun to focus on raiding schools and kidnapping students for ransom.
More than 850 students were abducted in December but most have been released after ransom payments.
pll/jha / mt