Sokoto killings condemned

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Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari condemns the killing of 37 people by bandits in Sokoto state his spokesman said in a statement.

Armed gangs killed hundreds of people in north-west Nigeria this year and forced at least 20,000 to flee to neighbouring Niger, adding to security problems in a country struggling with an Islamist insurgency and clashes between farmers and herders in central states.

“President Muhammadu Buhari strongly condemns the killing of 37 innocent people by bandits in the Goronyo Local Government Area of Sokoto State,” the presidency said in the statement.

Local media said the attacks took place on Friday.

Troops have been deployed to the areas hit in the latest flashpoint, the presidency statement said. Military and police were dispatched to tackle criminal gangs blamed for a spate of killings and kidnappings over the last year.

Buhari, a former military ruler, began his second four-year term in May after winning a presidential election in February.

During his campaign he vowed to improve security but – against the backdrop of the north-west wave of banditry, high-profile kidnappings nationwide and attacks by Islamist insurgents – he reiterated it remains a priority.