At least 17 people, including civilian militia members, were killed in clashes with cattle thieves in northwest Nigeria, police said on Friday.
Armed bandits attacked Jan Ruwa village in the Birnin Gwari district of Kaduna state on Tuesday and stole livestock, leading to clashes with a militia force. Kaduna state police spokesman Yakubu Sabo said the bandits took away “many cows” but the vigilantes fought them to try to reclaim the stolen herd. “In the process, the bodies of 15 vigilantes and two others were recovered,” he added in a statement.
The Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna state has in recent years become notorious for cattle rustling and kidnapping for ransom, forcing many local people to flee for their own safety. Gangs are known to roam on motorbikes on the hunt for victims, often crossing over into neighbouring Zamfara state.
Kidnap victims are often released within days if the ransom is paid but residents say they can be killed if no money is forthcoming, and their bodies dumped in the bush. The attacks in farming communities is one of a number of security issues faced by President Muhammadu Buhari, who has been criticised for failing to protect lives and property.
Amnesty International last year said communities in Zamfara were “at the mercy” of armed bandits who had killed at least 371 people in the first six months of 2018.