No fewer than 60 people have been killed in renewed bandit attacks on some villages in Magami District, Gusau local government area of Zamfara state.
Villages attacked by the gunmen were Yar Doka, Kango, Ruwan Dawa, Madaba, Arzikin Da and Mairairai.
Witnesses said the assailants, who came on motorcycles in their large number, stormed the villages and fired gunshots.
This led to the loss of lives and several others were injured, while houses and other valuables of the villagers were razed.
BBC Hausa, according to journalist Bulama Bukarti, reported that the funeral of 51 people killed by the bandits was held on Thursday morning.
A witness said the bandits operated for from 7am to 1pm (seven hours) on Wednesday, adding that they reported the attack to security forces but no help came.
The witness, according to Bukarti’s summary of the BBC report, said a military jet arrived at a point but left without repelling the attackers.
The communities said they were attacked because they were accused of preparing to defy bandits’ order that they should farm.
“Yesterday, bandits attacked Yar Doka village here in Magami district, Gusau Local Government Area,” another source told Sahara Reporters.
“The neighboring villages came to assist them, the bandits ambushed them and killed over 60 people while others escaped into the forest,” he said.
The source added that many people were also wounded by the gunshots and were taken to the hospital for treatment.
He said the villages had been deserted for fear that the bandits might return.
“They also took away several cows, sheep and goats as well as foodstuffs,” he added.
Deadly attacks have raged across Zamfara state where bandits have thrived.
Farming and herding communities in the state have long been terrorised by gangs who raid villages, stealing cattle and kidnapping residents for ransom.
In 2019, the state government entered a peace agreement with the gunmen.
About 15 brand new Hilux vehicles and cash gifts were also given to leaders of different ‘repentant’ gangs of bandits by the governor in 2020.
But despite all these, communities in the state are still being attacked and residents kidnapped and/or killed.