At least 60 women have been kidnapped by armed gangs in Nigeria’s north-western Zamfara state, local media reports.
Gunmen reportedly attacked three villages and burnt down several houses, killing some villagers – though casualty figures are not yet known.
Eyewitnesses told the BBC that as soon as residents heard of their approach, many of them fled into the bush.
It has been reported that the security forces fought the gunmen, killing many of them.
Zamfara police have confirmed the attacks but dispute the casualty figures and the number of those abducted.
These raids come a week after a warning by the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières that rising violence in Nigeria’s north-west is causing a humanitarian crisis.
Armed gangs regularly attack communities and kidnap villagers in Zamfara – many of them for ransom.
People are forced to flee their homes and farms because of such dangers.
Meanwhile, more than 130 children abducted from a Koranic school last month in Tegina, in central Nigeria, remain in captivity.
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