Gunmen killed 17 people, including five policemen, in separate attacks in the state of Katsinanorthwest of Nigeriain the latest wave of regional violence, police and a local authority said Thursday.
Criminal gangs operate in northwestern and central Nigeria, where they invade villages, kill or kidnap villagers, and loot and burn their homes.
The criminals, who maintain camps in a vast forest between the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger, were described in January as terrorists by the Nigerian government.
On Wednesday night, a group of about 300 motorcycle bandits attacked a police post in the district of Scrape where they killed five officers, reported the police spokesman Gambo Isah.
He added that the attackers also killed three civilians.
Meanwhile, at least nine people were killed between Tuesday and Wednesday in attacks on four villages in the neighboring Faskari district, attributed to the same gang, local official Musa Ado said.
The gangs are motivated by financial gain with no ideological bent, but authorities fear they have links to jihadist groups operating in the northeast, where they are waging a 13-year-old insurgency.
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