Motorbike gangs killed at least 200 people in multiple gun raids this week in the northwestern Nigerian state of Zamfara.
“This is horrific and tragic. Over 200 persons were buried… due to the invasion by bandits,” a spokesperson for Humanitarian Affairs Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq told AFP News on Jan. 9.
Farouq also said that over 10,000 people became homeless due to the attacks while scores are still missing.
Armed gangs on motorbikes attacked villages for days, opened fire, and burned down houses and harvested produce, and stole farm animals from Jan. 4 to Jan. 6 amid a severe lack of security in the region.
The attacks are believed to be in response to military airstrikes on Jan. 3 that forced some of the gangs of armed bandits to flee from their forest hideouts.
In a statement, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called the latest attacks “an act of desperation by mass murderers, who are now under relentless pressure from our military forces who are well equipped to effectively confront these enemies of humanity.”
Buhari added that the military is acquiring more equipment “to track down and eliminate all the criminal gangs that are subjecting innocent people to the reign of terror.”
The government this week officially labeled the bandits as terrorists, allowing security forces to impose tougher sanctions against the convicted gunmen and their supporters.
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