Gunmen from a suspected criminal gang attacked a village market in northwest Nigeria s Sokoto s state killing dozens of people. File photo
The assailants stormed the Zangon Kataf Local Government Area in Kaduna state and opened fire Saturday after a confrontation with police at a checkpoint, Yabo Ephraim, a spokesperson for the local government told The Associated Press.
Authorities imposed a curfew in the area after the attack.
The attackers were ethnic Fulani, a group of mostly nomadic pastoralists who have been embroiled in a long conflict with farmers over limited access to water and land, Ephraim said.
Before the shootings, a fight had broken out between some villagers and a small group of Fulani men. The latter left the scene and later returned in larger numbers with guns and machetes, the government spokesperson said.
"They were strategically stationed at certain places and began to open fire in the community. They chased them even right into their homes. Wherever you are hiding, they will shoot you,” Ephraim added.
Such attacks are not rare in Nigeria, especially in the country's hard-hit north. The pastoral conflict has evolved into various armed groups carrying out acts of violence, defying government and security measures for years.
On Sunday, young people in the Ungwan Wakili community, where Saturday's attack took place, protested the killings and accused Nigerian soldiers of failing to stop the violence despite being in the area at the time.