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

File Photo: Members of security forces ride a truck as they patrol in Kankara, in northwestern Katsina state, Nigeria, December 16, 2020.
File Photo: Members of security forces ride a truck as they patrol in Kankara, in northwestern Katsina state, Nigeria, December 16, 2020. (Reuters)

At least 23 people have been killed as armed gangs carried out attacks across five districts in northwest Nigeria, officials said, 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.

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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.

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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 militant 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.

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Source: AFP