Nigerian police kill 5 gunmen in NW state

Police on patrol after an attack by bandits in north-west Nigeria in 2020. Authorities say cattle thieves have killed 66 people in a spate of violence in the region. Photograph: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters
Police are seen on patrol after an attack by bandits in northwestern Nigeria in 2020. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

Nigerian police on Saturday confirmed that five gunmen were killed by operatives during an anti-banditry raid of suspected hideouts in the northwestern state of Zamfara.

Ayuba Elkanah, the police chief in Zamfara, told reporters in the state capital of Gusau that one suspected commander of the gunmen, known as bandits in Nigeria, was also arrested alongside 21 other suspects during the operation by police in the Gummi local government area on Friday.

Elkanah said the operation in the Gummi axis of the state followed an intelligence report and a raid of the Kagara Forest in that part of the country.

He said the bandits’ commander, identified as Bello Rugga, had been in charge of the criminal gang’s operations in the Kagara Forest and surrounding areas in the entire Gummi local government area.

“He has coordinated a series of attacks in the area that led to the unwarranted killings of innocent people and kidnapping of many others for ransom,” the senior policeman said.

Those killed gunmen during the operation were among the plotters of many attacks in different parts of Zamfara, he added.

In recent months, a series of gunmen attacks occured in Nigeria, leading to deaths and kidnappings.