At least 21 people have been killed by gunmen in separate attacks in Talata Mafara and Maru local Government Areas of Zamfara State, police and residents said.
The attacks occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday. Police said 21 people were killed in the attacks, but residents of the affected communities said 25 people died in the attacks.
Residents said the attackers first ransacked various peasant communities and stole hundreds of livestock. They, however, met stiff resistance in some communities and retreated, a source said asking not to be identified.
The source, however, said a day later the armed men returned on hundreds of motorcycles, possibly better armed, and killed many in the communities they initially fled from.
People were killed in Awala Zaman Gida, Yargada Bolakke, and Gidan Runji communities all in Maru and Talata Mafara councils areas.
Some of the victims were killed at Zaman Gida community cemetery during the interment of their loved ones earlier killed by the armed men. The bandits reappeared at the cemetery and killed more people, the source added.
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The police spokesperson in Zamfara, Muhammad Shehu, in a statement, confirmed the attacks, he however, refuted some media reports claiming that over one hundred people were killed in the attacks.
He said the attacks occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday in six villages namely:- Tungar Malan, Manyan Karaje, Tungar Arne, Dangodon Maiyakane, Dangodon Mai Masallaci and Boleke in Maru Local Government Area.
The armed bandits attacked with the intention to rustle cows, however, after they were confronted by members of the militia group known as “YAN SAKAI”, they started shooting sporadically, thereby resulting to the death of fifteen (15) people, while seven (7) people sustained a gunshot wound and rushed to the hospital for treatment, the police said.
Also, the police said the gunmen on June 3 attacked and killed six people in four villages namely:- Gidan Dan Kani, Tungar lauti, Inwala and Dangodo villages in Talata Mafara Local Government Area.
The victims were attacked and killed while returning from the funeral prayer of those killed in the first attack. Five people sustained gunshot wounds and are currently receiving treatment, the police said in the statement.
“At the moment, normalcy has been restored in the affected communities, and the command will keep members of the public abreast as soon as new development emerges,” the statement said.