Gunmen have killed 19 security personnel, including 13 soldiers, in Kebbi State, a security source and residents said Wednesday.
The battle erupted late Tuesday in Kanya, a village in Danko-Wasagu district, just a day after dozens of members of a self-defence militia were killed in the same area.
About 57 vigilantes were killed in nearby Sakaba on Monday in an ambush by heavily armed criminal gangs known locally as bandits.
Hundreds of gunmen invaded Kanya, engaging a combined military and police detachment in a three-hour gunfight, the source and residents said.
“The death toll stands at 19. They include 13 soldiers, five policemen and one vigilante,” a security personnel, who did not want to be identified, told AFP.
He said eight other security personnel, including four soldiers, were hospitalised with wounds.
“It was an intense fight that lasted more than three hours. The terrorists had the upper hand because of their sheer number.”
Military and police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident.
Local resident Musa Arzika, who gave the same toll, said the attackers came on “around 200 motorcycles riding three on each” and laid siege on the village.
“The bodies of 13 soldiers, five policemen and one vigilante killed in the fight were taken to Zuru this morning,” he said.
“We believe they were the same bandits who killed the vigilantes that attacked our village,” he said.
Northwest and central Nigeria have been terrorised for years by criminal gangs who raid villages, killing and abducting residents for ransom after looting and burning homes.