Armed bandits riding on motorcycles descended on a village in Kaduna State on Saturday, killing, kidnapping and injuring residents before setting their properties on fire, PRNigeria reported on Sunday.
A police officer was feared killed in the attack, and those injured had been taken to the hospital while search and rescue for those feared abducted had commenced, reports said.
Witnesses who spoke with PRNigeria in the wake of the attack said the bandits entered Kakangi village in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area at about 5:00 p.m.
The attackers went on a rampage that included shooting at a police station and burning of homes and markets.
An escapee told of how he was sitting by the police station when the gunmen arrived, adding that thick smoke was still billowing from the scene as of the time he escaped through a perimeter fence.
PRNigeria, which covers the security sector, said many people were feared killed in the attack, including high profile indigenes of Kakangi that were attending a mass wedding.
Six persons with various injuries were taken to the General Hospital in Birnin-Gwari town, about 20 kilometres from Kakangi, PRNigeria cited Abubakar Nagwari, head of a local security group, as saying.
Birnin-Gwari has seen frequent attacks from bandits in recent years, despite heightened security measure in the area. Bandits are regularly suspected in the attacks, but occasional skirmishes between warring villages had been reported.
It was not immediately clear whether the attackers came from within the states, or from neighbouring Katsina or Zamfara, where hundreds have been killed by rampaging armed bandits.
President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly ordered increased security presence to Zamfara, after Nigerians held a protest in Abuja to condemn his seeming helplessness amidst a gloomy security situation that had prevailed for several years.
It, however, remained to be seen how far the latest directive would go. In November 2017, the president reacted to similar outrage about the killings by ordering the creation of a new battalion for Zamfara.
In order to further secure the area, a brigade was also moved from Sokoto State to Zamfara, while Sokoto received a new division.
But little appeared to have changed years on, even though the military reported frequent assaults on bandits’ hideouts.
Over the past week, both the Nigerian Army and the police have announced the commencement of separate operations to tackle armed attackers in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto.
A spokesperson for the police in Kaduna told newsmen he was still gathering information about the attack —including the killing of an officer — as of 1:00 p.m. Sunday.