Gunmen kill 47 in Nigeria's Benue State, abduct 85 in Zamfara State

Suspected armed bandits are alleged to behind the fatal attacks and abductions in the two Nigerian states. [Courtesy of Foreign Policy]

Nigerian authorities said on Saturday that 85 people were abducted by gunmen suspected to be bandits in a village in the northwest state of Zamfara on Thursday.

This was announced in a brief statement by Abdulmalik Saidu Maibiredi, media assistant to the governor.

The victims, mostly children and women, were abducted on Thursday at Wanzamai village in the Tsafe local government area of the state.

Abductions have been frequent in the state for many years.

The abductions occurred a day after at least 47 civilians were killed in an attack by armed bandits at a community in Nigeria's central state of Benue, an official said on Friday.

Scores of residents were injured while others fled their houses in the attack, which occurred between Tuesday and Wednesday in the Umogidi community of the state, Bako Eje, chairman of Otukpo Local Government Area, confirmed the attack to reporters on the phone in Makurdi, the state capital.

According to him, the attackers invaded the community on Wednesday at about 4:15 p.m. local time shooting indiscriminately at everything in sight and killing 46 people.

Paul Hemba, special adviser on security to the state governor, also confirmed the latest attack and described the incident as "very tragic and painful."

"The causality figure, from what I was told, was 47. But the figure may be higher because some people are still reported missing," he told reporters on the phone.

Addressing journalists in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, Hyacinth Alia, state governor-elect, who tasked security agencies to find the killers, also sympathized with the families of the deceased and condoled with the entire community over the killing.

"I am saddened over the killings, and I call on the government at all levels to be more proactive in addressing the security challenges in the state," he said.

Armed attacks have been a primary security threat in Nigeria's northern and central regions, leading to deaths and kidnappings in recent months.