Gunmen in Nigeria killed eight people on Sunday and abducted at least 60 others in two communities of northwest Zamfara state, residents and a local traditional leader said, two days after armed men kidnapped dozens from a university in the state.
Zamfara is one of the states worst affected by kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs known locally as bandits.
President Bola Tinubu is yet to spell out how he will tackle widespread insecurity. His economic reforms, including the removal of a costly fuel subsidy and freeing the naira currency, have increased the cost of leaving, angering citizens.
Residents said gunmen tried to attack a forward army base in a rural Magami community of Zamfara early on Sunday, but were repelled.
The gunmen had divided themselves in three groups, the one that attacked the army base and two others who attacked Magami and nearby Kabasa community, said a traditional leader who declined to be named for security reasons.
He said 60 people, mostly women and children, were kidnapped.
“The bandits rode many motorcycles with guns and other weapons (and) were shooting sporadically,” Shuaibu Haruna, a resident of Magami, told Reuters by telephone.
Four people were killed during the attack, said Haruna, who attended their burial.
Isa Mohd from Kabasa community said four people were also killed and dozens of others kidnapped.
“As I’m speaking to you now, the whole of our villages is not safe,” he said.
The police and army did not respond to requests for comment.
Attacks in the northwest are part of widespread insecurity in Nigeria. Islamist insurgents still carry out deadly attacks in the northeast, gangs and separatists attack security forces and government buildings in the southeast, and clashes involving farmers and herders continue to claim lives.
With Nigeria’s security forces thinly stretched, large swathes of land in the northwest are under the control of armed gangs.