A spate of kidnappings and assault by armed gangs in the northwest of Nigeria has culminated in the murder of at least 20 civilians in the state of Sokoto on Saturday. According to the police, the gang members fired into the crowd at a market and torched several vehicles.
Since last December, gand have been kidnapping swathes of schoolchildren and civilians for the purpose of holding them ransom say Nigerian police. The widespread nature of the attacks and the boldness of the gangs has been attributed to a lack of security enforcement in the area.
The Nigerian government has enforced a telecommunications blockade in the northwest part of the country in an effort to hinder gang activities. Three days ago, police and security forces rescued 187 people from the clutches of violent gangs in the state of Zamfara. Mohammed Shehu, the police spokesman for Zamfara, said in a statement that the victims, including women and children, had been seized by kidnappers from four local government areas in the state some weeks ago