Armed gangs kill 23 in raids in northwest Nigeria

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KANO, Nigeria, Feb 9, 2021 (BRU/AFP) – Armed gangs killed 23 people
in attacks across five districts in northwest Nigeria, officials said
on Tuesday, in a region where criminal groups often raid villages to
ransack or kidnap for ransom.

President Muhammadu Buhari has been under pressure as his military
struggles to resolve a decade-long insurgency in the northeast, armed
gangs in the northwest and communal conflicts in central regions.

The latest attacks were in northwest Kaduna state where 23 were
killed over 24 hours in Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi and Kauru
local government areas (LGAs), state internal security commissioner
Samuel Aruwan said.

The deadliest attack was in Birnin Gwari, where 10 people were killed.

The Nigerian air force was engaging with some of the armed groups
in locations in the Chikun, Birnin Gwari, Giwa and Igabi LGAs, the
official said in a statement.

In the northwest region, where Buhari is from, heavily armed
criminals called “bandits” by locals have terrorised communities for
years, raiding villages, rustling cattle, kidnapping and burning down
homes.

Armed gangs, which sometimes number in the hundreds, have generally
been motivated by money, but security experts warn the region’s
jihadist groups have been increasingly infiltrating their ranks.

Violence from criminal groups has killed around 8,000 people since
2011 and forced more than 200,000 to flee their homes, according to an
estimate by International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank last year.