At least 218 residents and militiamen have been killed in attacks by bandit groups on communities in the Nigerian state of Zamfara since Wednesday in one of the bloodiest waves of violence in the African country in recent months, according to the People’s Police newspaper portal.
The bandits, around 300 and armed with advanced weapons, arrived on motorcycles and reportedly raided the communities of Barayar Zaki, Wanu, Rafin Gero, Laho, Lallaho, Kurfar Danya, Dutsin Dan Ajiya, Tungar Geza, Kewaye and Tungar Na More in turn Nigerian news portal Sahara Reporters.
After the attacks, residents recovered more than 200 bodies from the area, many of them farmers who were surprised on their land. About 140 victims are self-defense militiamen who were buried in Kurfad Danye on Friday, according to Sahara reporters.
In the city of Kurfar Danya, 22 bodies were recovered, eight in Tungar Geza, six in Tungar Dan Gayya, five in Tungar Toro, four in Abare, three in Walo, two in Tungar Isa and one in Keya from survivors from the ‘Premium Times’ were collected.
The attackers also caused significant property damage, kidnapped several people and forced hundreds of civilians, including women and children, to flee to the city of Anka.
These attacks are alleged to have been ordered by one of the region’s most famous criminal bosses, the dreaded Bello Turji, according to one of the survivors of the attacks.
Zamfara Governor Bello Matawalle visited a military base Saturday morning and confirmed the attacks. He also visited wounded soldiers in a hospital in the area to raise the soldiers’ morale and to reaffirm his support in the fight against criminals, reports the People’s Gazette.
Zamfara is one of the preferred areas for armed attacks by groups of “bandits” as the government describes them; armed groups specializing in pillaging the cities in which they operate and kidnapping minors for ransom.