Nigerian police kill 30 “bandits” after raids in the northwest

A Nigerian policeman.

Nigerian police killed 30 armed men after criminal gangs raided four villages in the north-west of the country that have been hit by an increase in kidnappings and attacks, police said Tuesday.

At least 10 villagers were killed in the various raids, Zamfara State police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said in a statement before police fought off the gangs.

Heavily armed criminal gangs known locally as “bandits” have become an increasing security challenge in northwestern Nigeria. They search villages and carry out mass kidnappings for ransom.

According to police, armed men carried out raids in the early hours of Tuesday in the villages of Gobirawa, Gora, Rini and Madoti Dankule in Zamfara state.

“As a result of the encounter, about 30 hoodlums were neutralized while others fled into the forest,” the statement said.

Criminal gangs have recently turned their attention to kidnapping students and school children as ransom.

Dozens of armed men confiscated 39 students from their dormitories at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Afaka, Kaduna state, after exchanging fire with soldiers last month.

Some of these students were released, but it was the fourth mass kidnapping at a school or college in northwestern Nigeria since the beginning of the year.

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