Police in Nigeria’s north-western state of Katsina say 20 people were killed and 20 injured during an attack carried out by bandits on a remote community late on Tuesday 9 June. Earlier the same day, suspected jihadists in the north-eastern Borno state killed 81 people – one of the biggest attacks on the civilian population this year.
In Katsina, 150 gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on residents, looting shops and stealing cattle in the village of Kadisau.
Police spokesman Isah Gambo said that a ceasefire between the bandits and the state government had broken down in recent weeks.
He said the bandits came from other states as well as neighbouring Niger.
The news comes after the official death toll from an attack carried out by jihadists in the north-eastern Borno state rose from 69 to 81 – one of the biggest attacks on the civilian population this year.
Acording to news reports, fighters drove into remote Felo village in Gubio district, about 80 kilometres from the regional capital of Maiduguri, on Tuesday afternoon, opening fire on residents.
No group has yet claimed the attack.
Reuters reported that the militants suspected villagers of sharing information about their movements to security forces, while AFP said jihadist fighters had been killed by locals trying to protect livestock.
According to a report quoting residents from the community affected:
Our people were caught off guard by the gunmen who surrounded them,” the leader said. “It is an open field with nowhere to hide,” he said. “They couldn’t escape, they couldn’t outrun the vehicles.”
Residents told reporters on Wednesday the attack was thought to be retaliation for the earlier killing of members of an armed group by a local self-defence unit formed to protect against attacks and the theft of herd animals in the village and surrounding area.
While it is unclear who carried out the attack, both the jihadist group Boko Haram and an offshoot which fights under the banner of the Islamic State group have carried out deadly attacks in the north-east of Nigeria.
According to a report by the BBC, as civilians were targeted, security analyst Bulama Bukarti believes Tuesday’s attack bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram tactics.
He said that if the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap), another armed group operating in the region, was behind the attack it would mark a significant shift in the way they operate, as the group doesn’t usually target civilians unless they are working with Western aid agencies, or suspects them of providing information to the Nigerian army.
Last month, Nigeria’s military said it had launched air strikes to halt a number of attacks and was claiming success in combatting the armed groups terrorizing the communities in the north of the country.
Growing insecurity in the north-west of the country adds to the challenge of containing an Islamist insurgency in the north-east. LINK
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