By Ahmed Kingimi
MAIDUGURI (Reuters) – Armed men stormed a military camp in Nahuta village, northwest Nigeria, sending troops fleeing and setting vehicles ablaze before proceeding to loot shops and homes, a resident and two sources said on Monday.
The attack on the military base, which hosts soldiers, police and other security forces, in the Batsari local government area of Katsina state, occurred late on Sunday, resident Isa Bello told Reuters.
Katsina police spokesperson Abubakar Sadiq did not immediately respond to calls seeking comments.
Gangs of heavily armed men, referred to as bandits by locals, have wreaked havoc across Nigeria’s northwest in the past three years, kidnapping thousands, killing hundreds and making it unsafe to travel by road or to farm in some areas.
Bello said the bandits, who arrived on motorcycles and a truck at approximately 2200 GMT, overwhelmed the military forces after a three-hour exchange of gunfire.
A security source said the attackers set fire to vehicles and other properties in the camp and proceeded to Nahuta village where they looted shops and homes, stealing goods and livestock worth millions of naira.
A Katsina state government official confirmed there were no casualties in the village.
The sources and the official asked not to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media.
The attack on the military camp has caused widespread panic among residents of Nahuta, many of whom have fled to nearby villages to seek refuge, Bello said.
(Writing by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo; Editing by Christina Fincher)