Gangs of thieves have killed 18 people in several attacks in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state, the government said Thursday.
Gunmen on motorcycles stormed into several villages in Igabi and Chikun districts of Kaduna state on Tuesday and Wednesday, shooting residents, burning homes, and stealing livestock, Samuel Aruwan, the state internal security commissioner, said.
“Security agencies have reported a sequence of attacks by armed bandits on soft targets in Igabi and Chikun local government areas occurring over the last 48 hours,” he said in a statement.
Gunmen invaded Anaba village in Igabi district, killing seven people and burning “several houses along with warehouses and barns,” Aruwan said.
In another attack, a gang stormed Barinje village in Chikun district, shooting eight people dead and abducting some residents.
Aruwan said the gunmen also wounded an “unspecified number” of people who were being treated in the hospital.
He said the raids were reprisals for the killing of several so-called bandits in “targeted air operations” after an attack on Tuesday by cattle thieves that left three people dead.
Northwest and central Nigeria are a hub for gangs of cattle thieves and kidnappers who raid villages, killing and abducting residents and looting and burning their homes.
Earlier this month, bandits killed 19 people in attacks on villages in Kaduna’s Birnin Gwari and Kajuru districts.
The gangs have no ideological leanings but there is concern they are being infiltrated by jihadists from the northeast waging a more-than decade-old insurrection.