Gunmen have killed at least 20 people in a dawn attack in a remote village prone to bandit attacks, in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna State, reports say.
Residents of Dogo Dawa said the attackers stormed the village, shooting and stabbing anyone in sight.
Many of those targeted were worshippers leaving a mosque.
No group has yet admitted the attack. Some reports suggested it may have been linked to a running feud between villagers and bandits.
After attacking the Mosque-goers, the raiders moved to the house of a community chief and killed him too.
State Information Commissioner Saidu Adamu told the BBC a gang of robbers who have been terrorising the area are likely to have carried out the attack.
Reports suggested the gang had tried to attack the village recently, but had been repelled by a vigilante group. But some of the bandits were killed in the process and had threatened a revenge attack.
And Abdullahi Muhammad, traditional ruler and councillor of Birnin Gwari, a local government area next to the village, was also quoted by Reuters as saying the main suspects were bandits.
“We are suspecting a reprisal attack by gangs of armed robbers who lost some of their members after a recent exchange of fire with the villagers and the vigilantes,” he said.
“The village had been terrorised by an armed group operating from camps in the forest. These armed men mostly attack villages and motorists along the busy Kaduna to Lagos highway.”
Community leaders said they had informed the police that they had been warned, in writing, of a revenge attack – but that police had done nothing, the BBC’s Tomi Oladipo reports from Nigeria.
Police refused to comment on the claim.
Kaduna lies on the dividing line between Nigeria’s largely Christian south and mainly Muslim north.
It is one of the areas where conflict between rival religious and ethnic groups has claimed many hundreds of lives.
It is plagued by an insurgency led by the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram.
The group has often targeted security forces, government officials and Christians, but has sometimes attacked Muslims who do not follow its hardline brand of Islam. BBC