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Nigeria: bandits attacks kill at least 200, displacing thousands

A deserted village.   -  
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Gunmen in Nigeria killed at least 200 people and displaced thousands more in multiple raids in the northwest region.

After details began filtering out early Saturday, the first official toll was communicated on Sunday. Gunmen in Nigeria killed at least 200 people and displaced thousands in multiple raids in the northwest Zamfara state.

The Nigerian minister of humanitarian affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, called the past week's attacks "horrific and tragic."

Gunmen rampaged through Anka and Bukkuyum districts, murdering dozens of people and dealt a heavy blow to authorities struggling to restore order. The minister said more than 10,000 people were displaced when "scores are still missing."

Forced displacement

Consequently, many villagers have fled leaving everything behind them. After we ran and left the village, I did not see my relatives, but I have seen them now, thank God",Zainab Hassan, a displaced resident, shares. “I don't think there is anybody in that village now, including security force", explains Ali Usman, another displaced.

At first, Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara state that borders Niger, downplayed the violence and said only 58 people were killed. He imposed highly restrictive measures for almost three months last year, shutting down telecoms, capping fuel sales and closing cattle markets, in an attempt to weaken the bandits but attacks have continued.

Herders and farmers have clashed over access to land in northwest and central Nigeria for years, but some groups have turned into criminal gangs known as "bandits" who kill, loot and kidnap for ransom.

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