Nigerian internal security commissioner says armed men stormed into several villages in Kaduna state, gunning down at least 18 locals, burning homes and stealing livestock.

People look at a bullet-riddled car at the site of an attack in Maiduguri, Nigeria Wednesday, on February 24, 2021.
People look at a bullet-riddled car at the site of an attack in Maiduguri, Nigeria Wednesday, on February 24, 2021. (AP)

Gangs of thieves have killed 18 people in several attacks in northern Nigeria's Kaduna state, the government said.

Gunmen on motorcycles stormed into several villages in Igabi and Chikun districts of Kaduna state, shooting residents, burning homes and stealing livestock, Samuel Aruwan, the state internal security commissioner, said.

"Security agencies have reported a sequence of attacks by armed bandits on soft targets in Igabi and Chikun local government areas occurring over the last 48 hours," he said in a statement.

READ MORE: Armed gangs carry out deadly raids in northwest Nigeria

Gunmen invaded Anaba village in Igabi district, killing seven people and burning "several houses along with warehouses and barns," Aruwan said.

In another attack, a gang stormed Barinje village in Chikun district, shooting eight people dead and abducting some residents.

Aruwan said the gunmen also wounded an "unspecified number" of people who were being treated in the hospital.

Continuing unrest

He said the raids were reprisals for the killing of several so-called bandits in "targeted air operations" after an attack on Tuesday by cattle thieves that left three people dead.

Northwest and central Nigeria are a hub for gangs of cattle thieves and kidnappers who raid villages, killing and abducting residents and looting and burning their homes.

Earlier this month, bandits killed 19 people in attacks on villages in Kaduna's Birnin Gwari and Kajuru districts.

The gangs have no ideological leanings but there is concern they are being infiltrated by extremists from the northeast waging a more-than decade-old insurrection. 

READ MORE: Kidnappers in Nigeria free 53 people abducted from a bus

Source: AFP