Nigerian military jets have carried out air strikes on a gathering of bandit militias, killing around 100 gunmen in the country's northwest, two army sources and local residents said on Friday.
Nigeria's air force confirmed it had carried out bombardments in northwestern Zamfara State on Tuesday, but a spokesman said he could not yet provide details on the numbers killed.
Northwestern and central Nigerian states have for years been plagued by gangs who raid villages and kill and abduct residents for ransom in rural areas where state presence is weak.
The gangs, notorious for mass kidnappings from schools and colleges in recent years, maintain camps hidden in a vast forest straddling Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.
"Fighter jets conducted air strikes on bandits, I'm sure more than 100 were killed and almost twice that number were badly injured," one of the military officers involved in the operation said.
Another military official also confirmed a similar number. Both spoke anonymously because they were not authorised to speak about the operation.
The military received intelligence prior to the strikes that several gangs had converged in an area on the border between Zamfara, Kebbi and Niger states with the intent of attacking villages and a nearby military base.
The air strike, which was carried out on Tuesday, was the second most intensive aerial operation against bandits in Zamfara since 2015 when the military deployed to fight the gangs.