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Nearly 40 villagers killed by suspected cattle thieves in Nigeria

6 July 2015 18:38



Armed men suspected to be cattle thieves have killed dozens of people in a village in the northern Nigerian state of Zamfara.

A local government official said on Monday that the assailants killed 37 villagers in Cigama on Saturday among other violent attacks.

“The gunmen killed 37 people in the attack on Cigama village shortly after they attacked Kokeya village where they killed two people,” Muhammad Bala Gusami told AFP.

Gusami said the gunmen attacked Cigama after members of a vigilante group from the village went to nearby Kokeya and helped in pushing the bandits out of the village.

The local government official added that some 50 gunmen had taken part in the attack on Cigama, shooting down the villagers indiscriminately, while torching several houses and stealing herds of cattle.

Zamfara has been the scene of repeated incidents of cattle theft and deadly raids on farming villages.

Local communities have set up vigilante groups in the face of the bandits, but the groups are in many cases accused of extremist acts such as killing suspected thieves. In response, armed groups raid villages to avenge the killing of their fellow bandits. In June 2013, about 150 bandits stormed the village of Kizara after the killing of their co-bandits by local vigilantes.

In February 2014, 20 people were killed in similar incidents in the villages of Rakumi, Mallamawa and Karagawa.

The file photo shows a herd of cattle crossing a section of Lake Chad, which borders Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. (AFP)


The bandit hideouts are in the region’s vast jungles, from where they carry out the raids on herding villages.

The governors of the four states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger met in Kaduna last week to create a joint force to fight the organized cattle thieves.

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