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Fleet of 150 armed riders kills 15 in Nigeria

A fleet of 150 gunmen on motorbikes rode into two villages in northern Nigeria, murdering at least 15 people, stealing cattle and torching houses, police said Thursday.

The gang attacked two villages, Gobirawa and Sha Ka Wuce, in Nigeria’s northwestern Katsina state late on Tuesday night, raiding the villages for hours into Wednesday morning.

“Police patrols teams were dispatched to the scene,” Katsina police spokesman Gambo Isa said.

Katsina state, 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Nigeria’s capital Abujua, has suffered from a string of violent attacks in recent months.

In a separate incident, gunmen also broke into a girls’ boarding school in Moriki in neighbouring Zamfara state, “with the intent to attack the school and abduct students”, Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said Thursday.

But while the gunmen were scared off from the school by policemen and villagers, two cooks and their three children were later reported missing. They are assumed to have been kidnapped by the gang.

The gunmen, who appear to want cash and have no known ideological agenda, have carried out repeated raids on villages, stealing cattle and food, burning homes and kidnapping for ransom.

People in rural communities in isolated areas have taken up arms to defend themselves.

But vigilante groups have at times exacerbated the violence and been accused of carrying out extra-judicial killings.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who comes from Katsina state, last month ordered the country’s security chiefs to put an end to the kidnappings and attacks.

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