In nigeria the death toll of those killed by unknown gunmen while having a security meeting in Yargaladima area of Dansadau community in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Saturday and Sunday has risen to 200.

An eyewitness told reporters that over 100 gunmen suspected to be cattle rustlers arrived on motorbikes at the venue of the meeting which was discussing the security challenge in the area and the neighbouring Kaduna and Niger States.

The gunmen surrounded the entire building and later opened fire on those at the meeting, killing about 200 people on the spot. Several others were said to have sustained various degrees of injuries while some took to their heels escaping into nearby bushes.

The town has been deserted, with women and children fleeing for safety.

Confirming the incident, the spokesman for Zamfara State Police Command, Lawal Abdullahi, dispelled the claim that 200 peole were killed, maintaining that the death toll was 72. He decried the illegal meeting of local vigilante and hunters without the approval and protection of the police as being responsible for the attack.

He said that the State Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Bichi, and the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in-charge of  zone 10, Mamman Sule, were at the scene of the incident to ascertain the number of casualties, adding that security has been beefed up in the community since the incident occurred.

Already, the state Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, has visited the affected community where he sympathised with the people over the ugly incident and appealed to them to take heart and  prayed that God would grant the souls of those killed eternal rest.

He said that the government would do its best to stop future occurrence of the dastardly act, and assured the people that the culprits would be fished out and brought to book.

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