40 feared dead in attack on Nigerian village

The state spokesman confirmed the attack to AA but said only 30 people were killed

The state spokesman confirmed the attack to AA but said only 30 people were killed

LAGOS – Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen invaded a village in Nigeria's northwestern Zamfara state in the weekend, killing at least 40 persons, according to eyewitnesses and local residents.

"They were clad in military camouflages but their uniforms did not match the ones worn by our soldiers," Ismaila Yero, who works in the lone health center in Yar Galadima village, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

"So we suspect that they were just using the uniform to do evil," he said.

Yero said the attackers came when a security meeting was going on and started firing at attendees.

He put the number of people killed at 40, adding that the figure could go up because several other people were seriously injured.

"The attacks have been persistent. But what shocks most people here is that these bandits often operate unhindered," Yero said.

Abdullahi Sabo, a local journalist based in Gusau, the state capital, said the attackers had come on motorbikes.

He told AA they were believed to be "cattle rustlers who have been terrorizing Zamfara, Kaduna and some other states around."

Zamfara state police spokesman Lawal Abdullahi confirmed the incident.

"It is sad that the incident occurred when community people along with volunteer vigilante groups were meeting to discuss strategies on how to curb the killings," he told AA.

"We are aware only of 30 casualties and some other people who sustained injuries," Abdullahi said.

The spokesman said police have stepped up patrols in the area.

Fulani herdsmen are nomads who move from one settlement to another in search of better grazing grounds for their animals.

They often clash with farmers amid tit-for-tat accusations over the destruction of farmland and cattle theft.

Last week, the military announced heavy troop deployments to states in central Nigeria and the northwestern Kaduna State, in which locals have clashed with suspected Fulani gunmen.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency