Residents and a community leader reported on Monday that armed gangs killed at least 50 people and kidnapped dozens more in Nigeria’s Plateau state, the latest in a series of raids by armed gangs in northern portions of Africa’s most populous nation.
In Plateau, Nigeria’s centre region, such attacks are uncommon. However, the state shares a border with Kaduna, where suspected bandits – a general word for bands of criminals who commit robberies and kidnappings – blew up train tracks last month, killing eight people and abduction scores.
Last week, militants assaulted a Kaduna army camp, killing fifteen troops.
“This is again another tragic event that we strongly condemn. All abducted folks should be rescued as soon as possible by security (forces) “Plateau Elders Forum spokesperson Jonathan Ishaku stated.
He claimed at least 50 people were killed by Bandits and 70 people, including women and children were taken late Sunday afternoon from nine communities.
“Many people were murdered, and houses and properties were damaged,” stated a spokesperson for Plateau Governor Simon Lalong. He didn’t say how many people had died.
In most rural areas of Nigeria, phone service is spotty, making it difficult for villagers to seek immediate assistance from security forces, who are overburdened fighting an Islamist insurgency in the northeast.
When he heard gunshots, Isahya Solomon of Kukawa, one of the villages assaulted, claimed he fled in a vehicle with his family and returned later that night after the attackers had departed.
On Monday, he says Plateau state’s capital, that his house and many others had been set on fire, that stores had been robbed, and that people were rescuing the dead of relatives.
“In our neighbourhood, 38 people were slain. Many of our homes were burned to the ground, and many of our stores were plundered “Solomon remarked.