A gang of over 100 criminals invaded some communities in Nigeria’s northwest Sokoto state, killing many locals, a top official said on Thursday.

In a statement, Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto State, said the attackers, who were “in hundreds,” stormed five villages of Garki, Dan Aduwa, Kuzari, Katuma and Masawa on motorbikes at about 6:00 p.m. local time (1700GMT) on Wednesday.

Tambuwal recalled he visited the area with security chiefs last Tuesday and held fruitful discussions with tribal leaders and other stakeholders on how to improve security in the area.

He said the bandits will be arrested and brought to justice.

Police has yet to give the exact figure of fatalities.

Some local media said dozens of villagers were killed by the gunmen in the attacks, while Sahara Reporters, the country’s popular news website reported 60 deaths.

It said the casualty figure may rise as emergency workers transport bodies and wounded persons from the scenes to a public hospital on Thursday.

Civilians in remote communities in some northwestern states have been under incessant attacks by gunmen. Last week, police deployed additional force to the region for a joint operation with other security agencies.

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