Bandits riding on motorbikes killed 47 people in villages in Katsina State in northern Nigeria. — AFP/VNA PHOTO
KANO — Bandits riding more than 100 motorbikes killed 47 people in coordinated attacks against several farming villages in Katsina State, northern Nigeria, the president's office and local police said on Sunday.
The mounted raiders carried out "organised and simultaneous attacks" on the villages, Katsina state police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement. The predawn raids Saturday targeted villages in the Dutsenma, Danmusa and Safana districts, he added.
A spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, confirmed the attack in a statement condemning the gunmen as "bandits".
Isah said members of the security forces, including soldiers and policemen, had deployed to the area on Sunday.
The bandits were thought to be members of criminal gangs specialising in cattle theft and kidnap for ransom in the area.
Villagers had put up stiff resistance fighting off an earlier attack, said the police statement. But the gang returned at around 0230 GMT on around 150 motorbikes, riding in twos and threes.
They went on a shooting spree in the villages, setting fire to homes, residents had told police.
Katsina is the president's home state, and in his statement Sunday, Buhari condemned the "latest attack by bandits".
Vowing to deal with such attacks with "decisive force", he said he would not tolerate "large-scale killing of innocent people by bandits".
Rural communities in Katsina state have regularly been targeted by these armed gangs.
The gangs maintain camps in Rugu forest, which straddles Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states.
From there, they launch attacks across all four of the states.
In February 30 people were killed when a gang of cattle thieves raided Tsauwa and Dankar villages in Katsina state's Batsari District. — AFP