Politics, Africa

66 killed in Nigeria's northwest ahead of polls

On eve of general elections, government urges locals to avoid reprisals

66 killed in Nigeria's northwest ahead of polls File Photo

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS Nigeria

On the eve of Nigeria's general elections, at least 66 people are confirmed killed in attacks across eight settlements in the country's northwest, officials said Friday.

Samuel Aruwan, spokesman for the state governor, said the violence occurred on Thursday in Kajuru in the Kaduna state, an area long gripped by armed bandits or religious zealotry.

“Security agencies today reported the recovery of 66 bodies killed in attacks by criminal elements on various dispersed hamlets in the Maro Gida and Iri axis of Kajuru,” Aruwan said in a statement.

“The government condemns the attacks and commiserates with the families of the victims. Security agencies have been deployed to the area and arrests have been made.”

Aruwan called for calm and urged residents to avoid reprisals, suggesting the violence may be communal.

Local news medium Daily Trust, quoting local sources, said the victims include 22 children and 12 women.

Police have yet to issue any statement on the development, which came just hours before the country's general elections begin nationwide.

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