At least 20 people have been killed in Nigeria’s Sokoto state after gunmen attacked a market and torched cars, as armed gangs continue to wreak havoc in the northwest of the country.
Northwestern Nigeria has since last December witnessed a wave of kidnappings of school children and villagers for ransoms by bandits, disrupting everyday life for millions of citizens.
Idriss Gobir, special advisor to the Sokoto police affairs minister, said the armed bandits rode on motorcycles and shot sporadically, killing several people at the Saturday market.
“The bandits in large numbers killed at least 20 people that we have seen and counted and set nine vehicles on fire,” he told Reuters by telephone.
Hussain Boza, a local member of parliament in Sokoto, blamed the attack on a lack of adequate security in the state.
A Sokoto police official confirmed the attack but could not immediately say how many people had been killed.
Parts of Sokoto, like neighbouring states in the northwest of Nigeria, are under a telecommunications blockade as part of a security operation to disrupt the armed gangs.
On Thursday, security agents rescued 187 people who had been abducted in nearby Zamfara state.