Suspected criminal gang members in central Nigeria’s Plateau state attacked a village during market day killing at least eight people, residents said Monday.
Sunday’s attack was the latest violence in the region that has for years suffered from tit-for-tat clashes between Muslim herders and Christian farmers.
“Pinau (village) was attacked by bandits yesterday (Sunday),” said Wase district representative Ado Abubakar.
Heavily armed gang members in central and northwest Nigeria, known locally as bandits, terrorize communities by killing, kidnapping, raping, and looting.
“It was a market day. So far, eight people lost their lives and some sustained injuries… They also stole some food items,” added Abubakar.
Police spokesman Ubah Ogaba said the death toll was under investigation.
“We are aware of the unfortunate incident that happened yesterday (Sunday) evening at Pinau in Wase,” Ogaba said.
A youth leader in the village, Shafi’e Sambo, gave a higher death toll.
“Gunmen stormed the market and started shooting sporadically,” said Sambo. “We were somewhere close to the market, and we quickly ran for safety.”
“I can confirm (the) killing of 11 persons, eight men, one woman and two children. Five others were injured and are right now receiving treatment at the health facility,” said Sambo.
At least 23 Muslim travelers were killed in Plateau in August when their bus convoy was attacked outside the state capital, Jos.
A week later, gunmen descended on a predominantly Christian village on the outskirts of the city, shooting 18 people dead.
More than 15,000 people fled their homes that month due to the violence, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Local officials say recent attacks in the region are the work of criminals rather than religious violence.