Gunmen in northwest Nigeria kill 19 security personnel

Gunmen killed 19 security personnel, including 13 soldiers, in an assault in the northwest Nigerian state of Kebbi, a security source and residents said Wednesday.

The battle erupted late Tuesday in Kanya, a village in Danko-Wasagu district, just a day after dozens of members of a self-defence militia were killed in the same area.

At least 57 vigilantes were killed in nearby Sakaba on Monday in an ambush by heavily armed criminal gangs known locally as bandits.

Hundreds of gunmen invaded Kanya, engaging a combined military and police detachment in a three-hour gunfight, the source and residents said.

“The death toll stands at 19. They include 13 soldiers, five policemen and one vigilante,” a member of the security personnel, who did not want to be identified, told AFP.

Eight other security personnel, including four soldiers, were hospitalized with wounds, he added.

“It was an intense fight that lasted more than three hours. The terrorists had the upper hand because of their sheer number.”

Military and police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident.

Northwest and central Nigeria have been terrorized for years by criminal gangs who raid and loot villages, steal cattle and carry out mass abductions of residents for ransom.

But recently attacks have intensified even as the military attempts to drive bandits out of their camps