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Armed cattle thieves kill 88 people in attacks on villages in northwest Nigeria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The image taken last month in Kara Isheri in southwest Ogun state shows Nigerian herdsmen leading a herd of cattle.

Cattle rustlers have killed at least 88 people in raids on seven villages in northwest Nigeria's Kebbi state.

Police said on Saturday that 66 people were slain as a gang of cattle thieves riding on motorcycles attacked seven villages in Danko-Wasagu district on Thursday. The death toll rose as more bodies were found. 

"Initially 66 bodies were recovered but 22 more have been found," Kebbi state police spokesman Nafiu Abubakar told AFP, adding that the search for more bodies was underway.

Abubakar said law enforcement officers had been deployed to the area around the attacked villages of Koro, Kimpi, Gaya, Dimi, Zutu, Rafin Gora and Iguenge to prevent further attacks by suspected bandits coming from the neighboring states of Zamfara or Niger.

“Investigation is still going on to ascertain the extent of destruction wrought by the bandits and search for more bodies is still on,” he said.

Armed gangs in Nigeria, referred to as “the bandits,” have recently stepped up attacks on villages and schools, kidnapping hundreds of students to receive ransoms from authorities and parents.

Nigeria suspends access to Twitter 

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government ordered internet servers to suspend access to Twitter in the country, two days after the social media giant deleted a tweet posted by President Muhammadu Buhari on his official account.

In the tweet, Buhari had made reference to the country's civil war four decades ago in a warning to those behind the recent spate of violence in the country.

“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” the president had posted on Twitter.

The presidential spokesman Garba Shehu pointed out in a statement that the removal of the president's tweet was not the sole reason for the Twitter ban.

“There has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real-world violent consequences,” Shehu said.

In the meantime, the Nigerian government warned tech companies and telecom operators that it would prosecute those who violated the Twitter ban.

Twitter said that the ban by the Nigerian government was “deeply concerning.”


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