At least 60 people were reportedly killed in attacks across villages in Zamfara State.
Some of the affected communities were identified as Kurfa Danya, Kurfa Magaji Rafin Gero, Tungar Isa and Barayar Zaki in Bukkuyum and Anka Local Government Areas of the state.
A resident simply identified as Babangida said: “They came in a very large number and on motorbikes firing at residents and torching residential houses and food stores. The residents, especially women and children, scampered to safety.
“Some of them are taking refuge in Bukkuyum local government area and some other relatively safer communities. The whereabouts of dozens of other residents are still unknown. Up to the wee hours of Thursday, displaced persons were massing up in Nassarawa Burkullu community. Some of them sustained serious injuries from gunshots.”
Residents further said the remains of those killed are being picked for burial. They said a lot of people are afraid to go to deep inside bushes to recover the bodies of the slain persons.
“A bandits’ leader known as Shehu Bayade is the spearhead of deadly raids, kidnappings and cattle rustling in communities in Anka, Bukkuyum and Gummi local government areas of the state.
“We believe Turji and his boys were invited by Shehu Bayade to that forest. This is because, in their own thinking, making the vast forest their abode would make their detection by NAF aircraft harder unlike where they had left,” he said.
Armed men loyal to Bello Turji, a terror kingpin, who were displaced by Air Force attacks on their enclaves in Fakai forest in Shinkafi local government area of Zamfara state are regrouping in another forest in western part of the state, Daily Trust gathered.
Sources familiar with matter and some other residents told our correspondent that the criminals were spotted pitching tents in Gando forest in Bukkuyum local government area of the state.
Gando is a community located near the forest and is 35km south of Bukkuyum town, the headquarters of Bukkuyum local government area of the state. The community and many other villages in the district are being literally governed by the bandits.
The spokesman of the state police command SP Muhammad Shehu could not be reached for comment up to the time of filing this report.
The attacks come after Turji released over 50 captives in what was seen as a peace move.