ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Gunmen have attacked a village in northwest Nigeria and killed at least 33 people, a local official said Sunday.
More than 35 houses were destroyed in the violence in Runji, which is in the state of Kaduna, said Francis Zimbo, chairman of the Zangon Kataf area where the massacre took place. Zimbo provided the number of fatalities, but state authorities wouldn’t comment on the number of people killed.
“Troops had a fierce encounter with the attackers and are still in the general area,” said Samuel Aruwan, the state commissioner of security.
No group has claimed responsibility for the killings. However, gangs of bandits have been accused of being responsible for attacks in the region, which includes the kidnapping for ransom and killing of civilians. Earlier this month, gunmen kidnapped 10 students about a half-hour drive by car from where Saturday’s attack occurred.
Nigeria’s government is still struggling to quell the violence in the country’s northwest despite a reduction in attacks last year as security forces ramped up military operations targeting the gunmen’s hideouts.