Gunmen kill dozens in Nigeria’s troubled northwest

Gunmen have killed dozens in an attack on a village market in northwest Nigeria, government officials said.

The attack took place on Sunday evening in Nigeria’s Sokoto’s state, in the Goronyo district, where bandits have likely been relocating to following security operations in neighbouring areas.

“We’re not sure of the [death toll] figure. But it is 30-something,” Sokoto government spokesman Muhammad Bello said in a statement on Monday.

Bandits have terrorized northwest and central Nigeria for years, but attacks have become more violent in recent months.

Officials in Sokoto expressed concern that these networks had relocated to their area to escape the crackdown.

Sokoto Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal requested “the presence of more forces in the state and the deployment of more resources,” according to Bello, who spoke on the governor’s behalf.

Parts of Sokoto, like other neighbouring states in the northwestern part of the country, are under a telecommunications blockade as part of a security operation to disrupt the operations of the armed gangs.

Nigeria’s security operatives are outnumbered by the gunmen, who often raid communities in their hundreds.

The assailants are made up of various groups. Security analysts have said they are mostly young men from the Fulani ethnic group who had traditionally worked as nomadic cattle herders and are caught up in a decades-long conflict with Hausa farming communities over access to water and grazing land.

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