Gunmen kill at least 43 after storming market in Nigeria

Gunmen kill at least 43 after storming market in Nigeria
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Gunmen killed at least 43 people in Nigeria's northern Sokoto state on Sunday, a particularly deadly attack amid a security crisis that the government has been attempting to push back on for the past year.

One local resident, Iliyasu Abba, told Reuters that there were 60 bodies at the local Goronyo General Hospital mortuary and that others had sustained injuries while escaping the attack.

"The gunmen stormed the market as it was crowded with shoppers and traders," said Abba, adding that the gunmen were "shooting sporadically on us after they surrounded the market firing at every direction killing people."

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Reuters noted that gunmen across northwestern Nigeria have been killing scores of people and kidnapping hundreds of others for ransom. One way that the government has been attempting to address the attacks is through communication blackouts, extending blackouts to numerous northwestern states including Sokoto.

In a statement obtained by Al Jazeera, Sokoto government spokesperson Muhammad Bello said, “We’re not sure of the [death toll] figure. But it is 30-something."

“We’re faced and bedevilled by many security challenges in our own area here, particularly banditry, kidnapping and other associated crimes,” said Bello. He added that Sokoto Governor Aminu Waziri has requested “the presence of more forces in the state and the deployment of more resources."

The bandits are made up of numerous different groups, Al Jazeera reported, but some security analysts have said that they mostly young men from the Fulani ethnic group. These men usually work as nomadic cattle herders, but have become caught up in a decades-long conflict with Hausa farming communities for water and land for grazing.