KADUNA, Nigeria (Reuters) - An armed gang killed at least 50 people in attacks on villages in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna on Sunday, Kaduna’s governor said on Monday on a visit to the affected communities.
Governor Nasiru El-rufai said the gunmen are suspected to have come from the neighbouring states of Katsina, Zamfara and Niger Republic, adding that troops had been sent to the area.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the northwest of Nigeria since last year, in attacks the government attributes to bandits - a loose term for gangs of outlaws carrying out robberies and kidnappings.
Houses and vehicles were set ablaze by the gunmen in the Kaduna state attack.
Police spokesman Muhammed Jalige said the gunmen invaded the five villages of Hashimawa, Marina, Kerawa, Unguwan Musa and Zariyawa between 05:00 and 08:00 GMT on Sunday.
Security experts say Nigeria can ill afford more instability as it is already struggling to contain Islamist insurgencies in the northeast, conflict in central states and militant groups in the Niger Delta to the southeast.
The death toll from violence continues to rise in Nigeria, along with incidents of kidnapping and robbery.
In a statement on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed regret over the killings and said the government was “determined to frustrate and defeat” those responsible for the attack.
Reporting by Garba Muhammad; Additional reporting by Ardo Hazzad in Bauchi; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by William Maclean and Mark Potter