Bandits have killed about 41 persons at Birane village, Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, after intercepting a vehicle conveying bridesmaids and traders to the community market.
They reportedly slit the throat of the driver and then opened fire on the vehicle, killing all on board.
The bandits later proceeded to the community market and started shooting indiscriminately, as traders scampered for safety.
An eyewitness, Hussaini Abdu, explained: “They arrived in large numbers and on motorbikes, intercepting and killing people who were coming or going out of the village. About 41 people were shot dead within a short period of time.”
He said a commercial motorbike rider conveying a woman and her three children was killed and his motorbike burnt, while the whereabouts of the woman and her children are still unknown.
However, Muhammad Shehu, spokesman of the state Police Command, said the conflict arose after hunters and local vigilante mobilised and launched a pre-emptive attack on bandits, when they heard that bandits were preparing to attack their community.
He said instead of the residents to give the security operatives timely information to avert the attack, they decided to take law in to their hands by going out to confront the gunmen.
His words: “You know Birane is a very remote community. I cannot tell you the actual number of the casualties till after the Deputy Commissioner, Operations, of the command comes back. He, alongside other officers are there to assess the situation and provide additional security measures.”