Gunmen kidnap more than 100 in Nigeria’s Zamfara state | CNN


More than 100 people, including women and children, were abducted on Sunday when gunmen raided four villages in Nigeria’s northwestern state of Zamfara, the information commissioner and residents said Monday.

Kidnappings have become endemic in northwestern Nigeria as roving gangs of gunmen kidnap people from villages, highways and farms and demand ransoms from their relatives.

More than 40 people were abducted from Kanwa village in Zamfara’s Zurmi local government area, Zamfara information commissioner Ibrahim Dosara and a local resident said.

Another 37, mostly women and children, were rounded up in the Kwabre community in the same local government area, added the resident, who declined to be named for security reasons.

“At this time Kanwa village is deserted, the bandits divided into two groups and attacked the community. They have kidnapped children between the ages of 14 and 16 and women,” said the Kanwa villager.

In the Yankaba and Gidan Goga communities in the Maradun Local Government area, at least 38 people were kidnapped while working on their farms, residents said.

Information Commissioner Dosara accused the gunmen of using abductees as human shields against army airstrikes.

Nigerian forces have launched a series of airstrikes in Zamfara and other restive northern states, neutralizing and driving many insurgents from hiding in the region’s vast forest reserves.

The country’s military has also been criticized after some of its airstrikes were found to have caused civilian deaths.

Last month, the Nigerian Air Force said it was investigating “all allegations of accidental airstrikes against civilians and the circumstances leading up to such attacks”.

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