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Death toll climbs in Sokoto cattle rustling raids

The death toll from raids by suspected cattle thieves in northwest Nigeria has risen from 26 to 32, the National Emergency Management Agency said on Thursday.

“The fatalities have increased to 32, with the recovery of six more bodies by rescue teams,” NEMA coordinator for Sokoto Suleiman Kadir told AFP. Bandits on motorcycles attacked several villages on both sides of the border between Sokoto and Zamfara states on Monday and Tuesday, shooting residents, burning homes and stealing cows. Kadir said there were now some 2,000 people made homeless by the violence — double the number reported on Wednesday. Two women were also kidnapped during the raids. Police have said five villages were razed in the attacks — two in the Rabah district of Sokoto and three in Zamfara, where kidnapping and cattle rustling gangs are known to operate. Meanwhile, six people were killed in violent clashes between ethnic Fulani herdsmen and Bachama farmers in Adamawa state, northeast Nigeria. The unrest happened late on Monday in the neighbouring Demsa and Numan communities, which have seen repeated killings and reprisals in recent months. Adamawa police spokesman Othman Abubakar said: “The dead included two herdsmen and four farmers.” Last month six people were killed and several homes burnt in dispute over grazing land in the village of Dowayan, in Demsa. Scores were killed in the region last December. An upsurge in violence across the country has put pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari and raised questions about his pledge to improve security in Africa’s most populous nation.

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