May 7 (UPI) — Armed bandits attacked a Nigerian village and killed at least 45 people, officials said Sunday.
An unnamed vigilante told Vanguard the bandits had been in conflict with villagers in the Birnin Gwari area before the attack. Violence is reportedly on the rise in the rural area, due to varying issues ranging from cattle theft to ransom kidnappings.
“The 45 bodies were found scattered in the bush. The bandits pursued residents who mobilized to defend the village after overpowering them,” the vigilante said. “The dead included children abandoned by their parents during the attack.”
Children under the age of 10 were killed in the attack, according to the BBC. Several members of a recently-formed self-defense militia were also killed.
Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, the governor of Nigeria’s Kaduna State, said he was “concerned by the incessant banditry attacks in the area” and military forces have been deployed to the area.
“The Kaduna State Government has received with sadness reports of the murder of our citizens by armed bandits in Birnin Gwari,” El-Rufai’s spokesperson said, according to CNN. “The government has sent a message of condolence to the people of Birnin Gwari Emirate. Kaduna State Government is deeply committed to overcoming the unfortunate criminality and banditry being carried out against innocent citizens in Birnin Gwari local government.”
The attack came about one week after 24 people were killed in the bombing of a mosque in Mubi, Nigeria.