Motorbike-riding gunmen have killed dozens of people and burnt down a number of homes in a series of raids targeting remote villages in Nigeria’s Zamfara state, reports from the north-western region say.
A police spokesperson confirmed the attacks to the BBC but could not give any casualty figures, saying a team of officials was on its way to the area to assess the situation.
Residents in Zamfara’s Magami area say they have counted more than 50 bodies.
They told the BBC that the gunmen first attacked the village of Yar-Doka on Wednesday.
When local vigilantes from neighbouring villages moved in to help, the gunmen attacked several other communities.
Some of the victims are said to be people displaced by previous attacks now returning home to prepare their farmland for this year’s rainy season.
Armed criminal gangs have stepped up violence in the region in recent months – carrying out deadly raids and mass kidnappings for ransom, including the targeting of schools.
On Tuesday, a group of gunmen abducted a number of students and shot dead a member of staff at a private university in neighbouring Kaduna state.