MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) – Gunmen killed at least 30 people in Nigeria’s Zamfara state, raiding several villages in an area in crisis for more than two years, residents and sources said on Friday. of security.

There has been a spate of attacks in northwest Nigeria, which has seen a sharp rise in mass kidnappings and other violent crimes since late 2020 as the government struggles to keep order public in a declining economy.

Three residents said the attack on the Anka local government area in Zamfara occurred at around 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday when more than 300 armed motorcycle bandits stormed eight villages and started firing sporadically.

Abubakar Bello, a resident who fled the attack, told Reuters by phone that local vigilantes outnumbered the gunmen who set fire to many homes and shops.

Another resident, Ummaru Makeri, lost his wife and three children in the attack, while his house was set on fire, he said by phone.

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“The villages of Kurfa and Rafin-Gero (…) have been under siege for two days without security forces,” Makeri said.

Zamfara state is one of the states most affected by the kidnappings and has been subject to a telecommunications blockade since early September, which authorities said it imposed to disrupt coordination between the bandits and help the armed forces remove them. combat.

But it also means that few people know what is going on in Zamfara, as the authorities do not provide information.

A spokesman for the governor of Zamfara told Reuters the gunmen were intercepted by the military and declined to provide further details.

State Police spokesman Muhammed Shehu could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Maiduguri Newsroom, Ardo Hazzard; additional reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja; writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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