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Over 50 Killed as Armed Men Attack Villages in Northern Nigeria

Herders graze a field with their livestocks on the outskirt of Zaria in Nigeria's northern state of Kaduna November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Armed men killed at least 50 people Sunday in attacks on villages in the Nigerian state of Kaduna, according to local officials and residents.

According to local police, about a hundred armed men attacked the villages of Kerawa, Rago, Zareyawa, Marina, Hashimawa, and Unguwar Barau, all in the Igabi district, shooting residents, and looting and burning homes.

Zayyad Ibrahim, a member of Nigerian parliament, said assailants began shooting people at random, as worshipers left mosques after prayer.

Ibrahim and local counsellor Dayyabu Kerawa told the French news agency (AFP) that killings were the work of "bandits." Kerawa said bandits “accused the residents of the targeted villages of providing information about their hiding places to the soldiers."

A local politician, Alhaji Daiyibu Kerawa, told VOA's Hausa service that the shooters were part of Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram.

“These killers are Boko Haram. They stormed our village killing indiscriminately. They spared nobody — the young, the old, even Almajiris [Islamic students] were not spared," he said. “They continued to shoot people, setting fire on the dead and on property. It was extremely horrific!"

Kerawa appealed for President Muhammadu Buhari to send security forces to protect the area.

Last month 21 people, 16 of them belonging to one family, were killed in similar attacks on the village of Bakali in the neighboring Giwa district.

VOA's Hausa Service contributed to this report.