By AFP

At least 20 people have been killed in Nigeria’s Sokoto state when gunmen attacked a market and torched cars, according to a state official and local Member of Parliament.

The killings in Sokoto state on Saturday came as armed gangs continue to wreak havoc in the northwest part of the country.

Bandits in the region have stepped up kidnappings of school children and villagers for ransom since December, disrupting everyday life for millions of people.

Idriss Gobir, special advisor to the Sokoto police affairs minister, said the armed bandits rode on motorcycles and shot sporadically, killing several people.

“The bandits in large numbers killed at least 20 people that we have seen and counted and set nine vehicles on fire,” he told the Reuters news agency by telephone.

Hussain Boza, a local member of parliament in Sokoto, blamed the attack on a lack of adequate security in the state.

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A spokesperson for Sokoto police confirmed the attack but could not immediately say how many people had been killed.

Parts of Sokoto, like other neighbouring states in the northwestern part of the country, are under a telecommunications blockade as part of a security operation to disrupt the operations of the armed gangs.

On Thursday, security agents rescued 187 people who had been abducted by armed gangs in Zamfara state.

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