Seven killed, dozens missing after gunmen attack in northern Nigeria

By Ahmed Kingimi

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least seven people were killed and 100 kidnapped on Saturday night when gunmen attacked a rural community in Nigeria's northwestern Katsina state, residents and police said on Sunday, the latest attack against residents in the north of the country.

Armed gangs, known locally as bandits, have frequently raided communities in the northwest, kidnapping residents, students and motorists for ransom.

Residents said gunmen on motorbikes arrived in Maidabino village in Danmusa local government area of Katsina, and started shooting sporadically, forcing residents to flee.

Hassan Aliyu told Reuters by phone that the attack took residents by surprise and dozens of women and children were confirmed missing.

"They killed seven people, including burning two children," Aliyu said. "They spent more than six hours destroying our properties."

Auwalu Ismail, another resident, said the gunmen first blocked all roads leading to Maidabino before the attack.

"They burnt down our shops, vehicles, and took away our livestock. They also kidnapped my wife and more than 100 women and children," he said.

Katsina state police spokesperson Abubakar Aliyu Sadiq confirmed the attack and the seven deaths but would not say whether anyone was missing. He said police were investigating.

"The remaining men who did not flee are living in fear ... and waiting to hear news about their abducted loved ones," said Muhammad Sani, whose sister was abducted.

(Writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe, Editing by Angus MacSwan)