Gunmen kill 36 in attacks in northern Nigeria

Gunmen killed 36 people in two attacks in northern Nigeria on Wednesday, a day after fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades amid worsening security in Africa’s most populous nation, officials and residents said.

The series of attacks by armed bandits occurred over the past 48 hours with 18 people killed each in villages of Kaduna and Katsina states and several others injured. The assailants burned down houses, displacing the villagers.

In a statement quoted by the Daily Post website, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan said the attacks in that state followed an air operation by security forces in which “several armed bandits” were killed.

Hundreds of people have been killed in northern Nigeria by criminal gangs carrying out robberies and kidnappings. The attacks have added to security challenges in Nigeria, which is struggling to contain insurgencies in the northeast and communal violence over grazing rights in central states.

The latest attack comes less than a month after President Muhammadu Buhari replaced his longstanding military chiefs amid the worsening violence, with the armed forces fighting to reclaim other northeastern towns overrun by fighters. Last week, unidentified gunmen killed a student in an attack on a boarding school in Nigeria’s north-central Niger state and kidnapped 42 people, including 27 students.

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