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Bodies of 23 unidentified persons were reportedly found inside a forest in Zurmi local government area of Zamfara state on Friday.

Zamfara, among other northern states, has suffered series of attacks from armed bandits and suspected herdsmen, leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties.

Muhammad Shehu, spokesman of the state police command, said the police got information that bodies had been seen in the forest.

“Our team of operatives was there and it recovered the bodies. Discreet investigation has commenced in earnest and the perpetrators will soon be fished out,” Shehu was quoted to have said.

According to Daily Trust, some of the bodies had gunshots wounds while some others had slit throats.

Residents were reportedly unable to recognise the deceased, “suggesting that they were not from the area”.

An anonymous resident in Boko village close to the scene of the discovery claimed the victims were killed by local vigilante known as “Yan Sa kai.”

“The forest here has become a safe haven for criminals and when the local vigilantes saw the men, they engaged them in a fight and killed them,” the local was quoted to have said.

“We can’t actually ascertain their place of origin or where they were heading to.

“Recently, about 10 herds of cattle were stolen and the vigilantes are working to protect the communities from attacks by the rustlers and they won’t spare any criminal.”

The remains have reportedly been buried.

Abdul’aziz Yari, Zamfara governor, had on June 13 resigned his position as the chief security officer (CSO) of the state over his “helplessness” in addressing insecurity in the state.

He urged residents to turn to God in prayers.

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