Armed bandits have killed at least 47 people in attacks on several villages in the northwestern Nigerian state of Katsina.
The attacks took place in the early hours of Saturday, between 12:30am (23:30 GMT Friday) and around 3am (02:00GMT), Katsina police said in its statement on Sunday.
“Detachments of Police, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Airforce, Civil Defence and DSS (Department of State Services) have been drafted to the area,” the statement added.
Police spokesman Gambo Isah told the dpa news agency that the attacks were carried out by more than 300 armed men.
“We are combing the forest to arrest those behind the attack,” added Isah.
The bandits reportedly demanded food items and other relief materials delivered to the villagers as part of government’s efforts to help locals during the coronavirus lockdown, the local Channels TV reported.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the last year by criminal gangs carrying out robberies and kidnappings in northwest Nigeria.
Such attacks have added to security challenges in Africa’s most populous country, which is already struggling to contain Boko Haram attacks in the northeast and communal violence over grazing rights in central states.