Bandits kill 20 in Katsina

Bandit gunmen have killed at least 20 people in separate attacks in northwestern Nigeria, police said Wednesday, the latest violence in the restive region of Katsina.

Armed bandits on motorcycles stormed into a farming village on Tuesday, spraying the people with gunfire, Katsina state police spokesman Gambo Isah said.

“They killed 18,” Isah said.

That attack happened on at Yargamji village in Batsari district, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the state capital Katsina.

A self-defence militia from another village then chased the bandits, ending in a gun battle in the forest.

Police said the bodies of two militia members shot dead were brought back and buried from that fight, but residents said more people were killed.

“We lost 11 people who went to fight the bandits in the bush,” resident Sada Iro said.

There had also been attacks in a nearby village called Mara Zamfarawa, in which five residents were killed, Iro said.

Katsina state, 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Nigeria’s capital Abuja, has suffered from a string of violent attacks in recent months.

The gunmen, who appear to want cash and have no known ideological agenda, have carried out repeated raids on villages, stealing cattle and food, burning homes and kidnapping for ransom.

Rural communities have taken up arms to defend themselves.

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