KANO: Gunmen have killed 34 people in Nigeria's northern Zamfara state where criminal gangs have been terrorising remote villages, police said Sunday.
Armed bandits on motorcycles stormed into neighbouring Tungar Kafau and Gidan Wawa villages in Shinkafi district late Friday and shot dead 34 people, state police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said in a statement.
"Normalcy has been restored in Tungar Kafau and Gidan Wawa following attack by armed bandits where 34 people were killed," Shehu said.
He said the victims of the attacks were buried on Saturday, adding police were on the trail of the killers.
Local residents put the death toll higher, at 35.
The bandits were said to have opened fire on farmers on their fields outside the villages and also pursued those who fled.
"The bandits killed 35 people in the attacks," said Lawwali Madattai, a resident.
Rural communities in Zamfara state have for years been terrorised by criminal gangs who raid villages, stealing cattle, kidnapping for ransom and burning homes after looting food supplies.
The bandits are known to hide in camps in Rugu forest which straddles Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states from where they launch attacks on communities in the area.
Last week, at least 40 people were killed and dozens injured in raids in eight remote villages in Niger state.