Some 160 villagers reported taken in deadly raid

Ten people have been killed and at least 160 other villagers have been kidnapped from a remote community in Nigeria’s central Niger state, officials say.

A large number of armed men, suspected to be from Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram, invaded Kuchi village on Friday night, local official Aminu Abdulhamid Najume told the BBC’s World Service.

Those kidnapped were mostly women and children, while those killed included local hunters who were providing security for the area, he said.

The gunmen reportedly rode into Kuchi on motorbikes and even spent time cooking food, making tea and looting houses before leaving more than two hours later.

Mr Najume , who chairs the Council of the Munya Local Government Area, said the Kurchi community had been left traumatised and anxious to hear news of those taken.

Writing on social media, Amnesty International expressed its “deep concern” at the mass abduction.

“The invasion of the village by the gunmen is yet another indication of the Nigerian authorities’ utter failure to protect lives,” it said.

“Since 2021 gunmen have been consistently attacking Kuchi village and raping women and girls in their matrimonial homes.

“From time to time, the gunmen demand millions of Naira as ransom from the people to avoid being kidnapped.

“Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian authorities to end these spate of abductions and bring suspected perpetrators to justice. Frequent mass abductions and killings are clear evidence of failure of authorities to protect the people.”

Attacks in Niger state have become increasingly common although it has often been unclear if the gunmen have any links to jihadist groups.

Last month several villages were targeted by armed gangs kidnapping for ransom.

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