ABUJA, Nigeria 

Nigerian forces on Monday rescued 26 people who had been taken hostage by armed groups. 

Acting Director of Defense Media Operations Brig. Gen. Bernard Onyeuku told reporters that Operation Sahel Sanity was launched against the groups in the states of Katsina, Zamfara and Kebbi.

Those rescued include seven women, Onyeuku said.

Three bandits were neutralized in the operation while many others escaped with wounds and a large amount of ammunition was seized, he added.

Information on when the 26 people were kidnapped was not provided.

– 12 civilians killed in Kaduna state

According to local media, armed bandits raided the villages of Kidandan and Kadai in Kaduna state and randomly opened fire.

Twelve people were killed, while eight were wounded and many others were kidnapped in the attack.

The country’s northwestern region sees occasional clashes between the herder Fulani people — one of the largest ethnic groups widely dispersed across West Africa — and neighboring sedentary tribes.

The Fulani, who migrated to the south of the country to graze their animals, claim that farmers try to steal their livestock and attack their people.

Armed groups sometimes take advantage of these conflicts and organize attacks.

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