At least 50 people including children and babies have been killed by armed cattle rustlers in three coordinated village attacks in Nigeria.
The shootings took place on 1st March 2020 in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna by the suspected cattle-rustling gang.
A police spokesperson told local media: “About 100 armed men, suspected of belonging to a gang specialising in cattle rustling and kidnapping, attacked the villages of Kerawa, Zareyawa and Marina in the Kaduna region.”
The MP for Kaduna and local residents have reported at least 50 bodies recovered with more expected to be announced, according to reports.
Local police deputy Zayyad Ibrahim said: “So far, 50 bodies have been found but the figure is not definitive and will most likely increase as rescue operations are still underway.”
Reports said that even newborns and schoolchildren were shot by the gunmen.
According to Ibrahim, the gang members attacked villages while worshippers were leaving mosques after prayer, firing randomly at the victims.
He added that the wounded had to be evacuated to two hospitals in the area.
State police spokesman Mohammed Jalige said: “The police command has received a report of these attacks and we have sent men to the area to gather more information.
Kerawa Village chief Dayyabu Kerawa said: “The attacks were a response to ongoing military operations against the bandits’ hiding places in the nearby forest.
“The bandits accused residents of the targeted villages of providing information about their hiding places to the military.”
According to reports, the Kaduna State area has become a hotspot for gangs specialising in cattle rustling and kidnapping for ransom, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.
In February, Nigerian authorities claimed to have killed at least 250 gang members in an operation targeting their hideouts in the forests of Kaduna State.
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Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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