No fewer than forty-one corpses who appear to be a part of the armed bandits suspected of unleashing terror in Villages in Zamfara State, north-west Nigeria have been discovered by the state police command.
This was confirmed by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Kenneth Ebrimson while briefing reporters on Tuesday in Gusau, the state capital.
He revealed that men of the Nigeria Police force discovered the corpses with their throats slit at different locations in the state.
Mr Ebrimson further revealed that 18 bodies were discovered in a river on Sunday and 23 others at a forest in the Zurmi area of Zamfara, four suspects were arrested in connection with the killings after the bush area was combed while the police recovered machetes and guns during the search.
The police commissioner disclosed further that the suspects were identified as members of a local vigilante group who decided to embark on a mission of “extra-judicial killings”.
The residents were however unable to identify any of the bodies were recovered stating that they said were not resident in the area. The police say they could be members of a group involved in cattle rustling and kidnapping.
Gangs of cattle thieves have raided villages, stolen cows and abducted locals for ransom for years especially in herding communities within the state while using the Ruggu forest straddling Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states as base.
These attacks have prompted villagers to form militia groups for protection but they, too, have been accused of taking the law into their own hands and killing suspected bandits.
The killings attract reprisals from motorcycle-riding criminal gangs, who carry out indiscriminate killings and arson in retaliation prompting the Nigerian government to deploy troops to Zamfara to fight the gangs while the police have outlawed the vigilantes to end the reprisal killings.