KANO (AFP) – Unidentified gunmen killed 38 people, mostly women and children, in raids on two villages in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state, an area plagued by years of sectarian conflict, officials said Tuesday.
The late Monday attacks targeted the remote villages of Fadan Karshi and Nandu in southern Kaduna, the head of the area’s local government, Emmanuel Adamu Danzaria, told AFP.
“Twenty-one people were killed in Karshi and 17 others were killed in Nandu. We are yet to identify those behind the attacks,” he said. “Most of the victims were women and children.”
Ahmed Maiyaki, spokesman for Kaduna Governor Mukhtar Yero, confirmed the attack and the death toll but declined to discuss which group may have been responsible.
State police spokesman Aminu Lawan said police were aware of the raids and that a probe had been launched.
Kaduna, with a religiously divided capital, has seen waves of violence involving the area’s Christians and Muslims, with the unrest often sparked by elections and other political disputes.
Hundreds were killed in Kaduna following Nigeria’s 2011 polls.
Separately, in rural areas, bloodshed has been linked to battles over land between agrarian groups and a tribe of mainly nomadic herdsmen, the Fulani.
Roughly 100 people were killed in Kaduna in March when assailants armed with guns and machetes attacked local villages, an attack blamed on Fulani militants.
Kaduna was in 2012 repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram Islamists but there was no indication of the latest violence being linked to that group’s five-year extremist uprising.