At least 45 people have been killed after bandits raided a village in northern Nigeria and local militiamen came to their defence.
The fighting, which took place on Saturday afternoon in Kaduna state, follows a recent spate of attacks in the country’s rural areas.
Austin Iwar, police chief for Nigeria’s northern Kaduna state, told AFP news agency 33 people were buried on Sunday, following the burial of 12 a day earlier.
“There was violence between the militias, who are very powerful, and bandits,” Iwar said.
According to local media reports, the bandits attacked Gwaska village in the Birnin Gwari area at about 2:30pm local time (13:30 GMT) and fought local defence forces protecting the community.
The village is in a region known for banditry, where thick forests provide remote hideouts from law enforcement.
Bandits have for years frustrated authorities’ attempts to apprehend them, and in some cases have amassed thousands of stolen cattle and fought off security forces sent to deal with them.
The attackers, who Gwaska residents allege are former cattle thieves from neighbouring Zamfara state, reportedly set fire to a number of homes in the village. Police Inspector General Ibrahim Idris said 200 policemen and 10 patrol vehicles were deployed to the scene.
The killings follow the death of at least 25 people in separate attacks in northern Nigeria since the beginning of May.
On Thursday, at least 13 people were killed in fighting between cattle thieves and militia in Zamfara state.
A day earlier, in northeastern Adamawa state, at least 12 people were killed in an attack on several villages.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies