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Nigeria: More than 100 people feared dead by armed men

Abubakar Aliyu in hospital after an attack by bandits   -  
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Violence in Nigeria

It is through a motorcycle that death came to the village of Abubakar Aliyu. In early April, dozens of gunmen burst in, shooting at random and chasing down residents in central Nigeria.

Abubakar, 25, and two fellow masons survived the massacre, despite suffering gunshot wounds.

"I tried to run away when I felt the bullet hit my eye. Those that were pelting the building, one of them was hit and fell down. Another was shot but did not die. Three of us are alive, only one died among us then they killed other people in the town," the young man lamented to AFP, sitting on his hospital bed in Jos, a huge bandage around his head.

Another victimIdris Sirajo, a local vigilante with visible wound on his upper lip and a bandage on the right side of his chest expressed his odeal and feels lucky to be alive. "Each motorbike was carrying at least two well-armed men on the back. They were shooting at people sporadically, I ran for a while but I had to stop and I raised up my hands, they shot at me, I dropped down, they thought I had died. I was short of breath, I saw them killing three other people in front of me. Then they left on a motorbike," he said.

When law enforcement arrived, they found the bodies of more than 100 villagers after the large-scale attacks, a symbol of the country's difficulty in curbing gang violence.

"If drastic measures are not taken that forest (Kukawa forest, ed.) is going to be a second Sambisa ....So I am sure that the operation going on now will push them (the bandits) out so we will not witness any second Sambisa in Nigeria," saidDayabu Ibrahim Garga, Kanam Council Chairman.

Carried out on April 10 against four villages in Plateau State, these attacks are the deadliest this year and are attributed to heavily armed criminal gangs, the "bandits."

"You are all aware that we have been conducting a series of large-scale operations in the north-West, specifically Zamfara state, and Katsina state, all under Eight division of the Nigerian army, and a lot of these bandits and criminals came from there. They are looking for safe heaven, where they can take shelter and run away from our onslaught," said Major General Ibrahim Ali, Third Division and Operation Safe Haven Commander.

The violence has evolved from clashes between herders and farmers over resources into a broader conflict fueled by arms trafficking.

Everday Killing has become a "normal" phenomenon with mass abductions and raids by "bandits" making headlines, with a death toll that rivals that of the jihadist insurgency in the northeast.