Lagos, Mar 13 : At least 55 armed men were killed during gunfights with troops in Zamfara state, northwest Nigeria, a military spokesperson said Tuesday.
The Air Force Spokesperson Clement Abiade told media in Gusau, capital of Zamfara, that another 24 armed men have been arrested by soldiers and handed over to the police for prosecution. Weapons were seized during the operation, Abiade added, noting that 760 persons abducted from villages in the state were rescued by the troops. According to him, three soldiers lost their lives during the operation.
Rural areas in Zamfara have been prone to attacks by criminal gangs, cattle rustlers and kidnappers, with at least two major attacks reported in December, leaving scores of people dead.
An earlier statement from the military said troops of Operation "Sharan Daji" on Jan 20 came into contact with "a large gang of bandits armed with sophisticated arms" at Dumburum and Gando forests in Zamfara, killing 58 bandits and destroying 18 camps that had been used by them.
Armed men suspected to be cattle rustlers have killed hundreds of people in villages across the state in recent years. Several villages have also been razed by the attackers who also kidnapped people for ransom.