This is the latest in a long chain of tit-for-tat violence that has plagued Nigeria's northwest.

A young Nigerian boy herds cattle along the side of a road near the village of Gezawa in Kano state, northern Nigeria on February 18, 2019.
A young Nigerian boy herds cattle along the side of a road near the village of Gezawa in Kano state, northern Nigeria on February 18, 2019. (Ben Curtis / AP)

A gang of cattle thieves killed at least 14 people overnight on Sunday in a remote village in northwest Nigeria, police said, the latest assault in a long-running series of tit-for-tat attacks.

Police said the bandits were taking revenge for an earlier killing of nine suspected gang members by local vigilantes in a nearby village in Zamfara state on November 3.

In the absence of a robust police force and effective judicial system in Nigeria, villagers created vigilante groups to fight off the gangs, but the villagers have since been accused of extra-judicial killings.

Zamfara officials struck a deal in July with the bandits to end their attacks and vigilantes to stop extra-judicial killings, but sporadic outbreaks of violence have continued.

Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said assailants riding motorbikes stormed into a remote village overnight Sunday to Monday, shooting residents and burning homes.

As well as the 14 people who were killed, 10 others were injured, Shehu said.

For several years, rural communities in the agrarian state have been under siege from gangs of cattle rustlers.

The gangs launch attacks from their camps dotting the Rugu forest – which straddles the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger.

The peace deal had seen the cessation of bandit attacks in Zamfara state, prompting authorities in nearby Katsina state to start similar peace talks with the bandits.

However, sporadic outbreaks of violence are still reported. Last month, bandits killed nine soldiers in reprisal after troops attacked their hideout in Anka district and killed their comrades.

Source: AFP