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Gunmen kill at least 11, kidnap 80 in Nigeria

Parents of students abducted at Bethel Baptist High School pray for their safe return around discarded shoes left behind by the children, in Kaduna, Nigeria, on July 9, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Gunmen have abducted at least 80 people and killed nearly a dozen others in separate attacks in the northwest of Nigeria, in the latest attacks by armed gangs that have been preying on villages, schools and highways.

Armed gangs kidnapped at least 80 people and killed 11 others in different areas in Nigeria, traditional leaders and residents said.

Zamfara state is one the worst affected by armed gangs, who terrorize and abduct for ransom and intensify the growing insecurity of the upcoming presidential election in February.

“Local authorities were still assessing the situation,” Bashiru Muawiya Mesudan, administrator for Bukuyum local government area said.

Also in the remote village of Masu, in Bukkuyum local government area, bandits kidnapped 50 villagers, mostly women, families of the victims said.

“We had over 50 married women being abducted along with quite unknown number of innocent farmers,” Sarkin Fawa Masu, a traditional leader, said. Some women were later released while two men were badly beaten and were hospitalized, residents added.

In a separate attack, armed men attacked Zonai community in Gusau local government area and abducted at least 20 people working on their farms, the village head Lawali Abdullahi Zonai said.

In Yar Tasha community of Bungudu and Zurmi local government areas, on Sunday gunmen killed 11 people and kidnapped at least seven farmers, one of whom was a district head, residents said.

Earlier on Wednesday, dozens of children were abducted by gunmen from a farm in northern Katsina state and the kidnappers have demanded a ransom for their release.

Northwest Nigeria has seen a sharp rise in mass abductions as well as other violent crimes since late 2020 as the government struggles to maintain law and order.

Criminal gangs have terrorized northwestern and central Nigeria for years, but they have become more brazen in recent months.

The armed gangs across the violence-wracked region repetitively terrorize inhabitants by looting villages, stealing cattle, and taking people hostage. More than 800 students and school children have been abducted in Nigeria for ransom by armed groups since December 2020 alone.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in over a decade of terrorism in Nigeria instigated by the Takfiri terrorist Boko Haram Takfiri group. The reign of terror has spilled over into neighboring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon and has forced more than two million people to flee their homes.

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