Lagos, Feb 11 (IANS) Sixteen people were killed in an attack over the weekend by gunmen in the Maru area of northwest Zamfara state in Nigeria, the police confirmed.
State police spokesperson Lawal Abdullahi told Xinhua by phone late Monday that 15 civilians and a policeman were killed by about 150 armed assailants riding motorcycles.
The gunmen had attacked the villages of Tungar Rakumi, Mallamawa and Kangarawa Saturday night, he said, adding that 12 people were killed in Tungar Rakumi alone, with the rest killed in Mallamawa and Kangarawa.
The bandits, armed with AK-47 rifles, were suspected to have carried out the attack in retaliation for the killing of three suspected cattle rustlers last week, Abdullahi said.
He said a police patrol in the area fought back and drove off the gang members, some of whom were wounded. The police always faced difficulties in trailing criminals in the area owing to inaccessible terrain and non-availability of telephone network signals.
The northern and central parts of Nigeria have recorded many deaths in recent years due to attacks by the Boko Haram sect and conflicts between communities with different religious beliefs.