Almeno 200 si ritiene che le persone siano state uccise in villaggi nello stato nigeriano nord-occidentale di Zamfara durante attacchi mortali di rappresaglia da parte di banditi armati.
Residents returned to the villages on Saturday after the military organised mass burials. The state government said 58 people had been killed during the attacks.
Ummaru Makeri, a resident who lost his wife and three children during the attack, said around 154 people had been buried, including several vigilantes. Residents said the total death toll was at least 200.
Balarabe Alhaji, a community leader in one of the affected villages, disse: “We buried a total of 143 people killed by the bandits in the attacks.”
Babandi Hamidu, a resident of Kurfa Danya village, said the militants were shooting “anyone on sight”.
“More than 140 people were buried across the 10 villages and the search for more bodies is ongoing because many people are unaccounted for,” Hamidu said.
On Friday it was reported that più di 100 people were killed by suspected “bandit” militants in the north of the country. Gunmen on motorbikes arrived in large numbers in as many as nine communities between Tuesday and Thursday night, opening fire on residents and burning homes.
The military said it had conducted air strikes in the early hours of Monday on targets in the Gusami forest and west Tsamre village in Zamfara state, killing more than 100 militants, including two of their leaders.
Kabir Adamu, a security analyst with Abuja-based Beacon Consulting Nigeria, told AFP this week’s raids could be in response to military operations.
“Angered by this, and perhaps by the fact that that they were facing certain death, [essi] decided to move to other locations and in the course of this they seem to be conducting these attacks,” Adamu said.
There have been a series of attacks in north-west Nigeria, which has seen a sharp rise in mass abductions and other violent crimes since late 2020 as the government struggles to maintain law and order.
In a separate incident, 30 students abducted from their college in the north-western Nigerian state of Kebbi were freed on Saturday, a spokesman for the Kebbi governor said, without providing details.
The president, Muhammadu Buhari, said in a statement on Saturday the military had acquired more equipment to track down and eliminate criminal gangs who have been subjecting people to a reign of terror, including through the illegal imposition of taxes on communities under siege.
“The latest attacks on innocent people by the bandits is an act of desperation by mass murderers, now under relentless pressure from our military forces,” Buhari said.
Di mercoledì, the Nigerian government officially labelled bandits as terrorists, to bring tougher sanctions against convicted gunmen, their informants and supporters.
Buhari told Nigerian TV this week: “We labelled them terrorists … we are going to deal with them as such.”
With Reuters and Agence France-Presse