At least 90 people were killed by armed men in northwestern Nigeria, local media reported on Friday, citing police in the area.
“An attack took place in the village of Kadawa, Zurmi Local Government, in which bandits used the night to beat unsuspecting people and kill them in cold blood,” said a police spokesman for the Nigeria News Agency (NAN).
“When the police commissioner received news of the attack, he ordered combined units of security personnel to mobilize into the area, restore peace and trust to the communities, and track down the perpetrators so they can be held accountable,” he added.
The attack, which took place on Thursday in a village in Zamfara state, was the latest in a spate of deadly attacks and mass kidnappings the region has seen in recent months.
Governor: “Defend yourself”
On the previous Friday, the governor of Zamfara urged residents to take matters into their own hands and fight against such attacks.
“I urge the people of the state to defend themselves if the bandits attack them,” Governor Bello Matawalle was quoted as saying by the Nigerian Tribune newspaper.
“My government has agreed that if the bandits attack you, you shouldn’t wait for security to come to your aid. You should stand up and protect yourself, ”he said.
Armed forces have intensified attacks in the north-west of the country, forcing thousands of people to flee to neighboring Niger.
The security situation in central and northwestern Nigeria remains fragile. The increasing violence poses a new challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari’s security forces, who have been involved in a war with jihadists in the north-east of the country for more than a decade.
The region has also been hit by a wave of criminal gangs kidnapping children in hopes of obtaining a ransom. More than 700 children and students have been kidnapped for ransom since December.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned of a humanitarian crisis in Zamfara state earlier this month.
The aid group said it had treated 10,300 children in Zamfara between January and April for severe acute malnutrition, measles, malaria and other diseases.
Médecins Sans Frontières says that their hostages are increasingly being sexually abused by armed men and that many rape victims have not received treatment.