KANO, Nigeria - Armed attackers burned 21 people alive, including 16 members of the same family, in a revenge attack by criminal gangs on a village in northern Nigeria, residents said Thursday.
Gunmen on motorcycles raided the village of Bakali in Kaduna state on Tuesday, shooting and burning homes and vehicles to avenge a raid on their hideout by local vigilantes, inhabitants said.
"They killed 21 people in the attack," Bakali's community leader, Sani Nuhu, told AFP.
Residents said the assailants burned alive 16 members of the same family, including six children, and five members of a local self-defense group after locking them in a house.
A police spokesman said the force had "received report of an attack by bandits on Bakali village" but was "still awaiting details".
The area where the attack happened has in recent years been a haven for criminal gangs who steal cattle and kidnap people for ransom.
Local communities have formed vigilante groups to protect themselves but this has failed to end the violence.
Residents said that prior to the attack vigilantes working together with the Nigerian security forces had stormed the criminal gang's camp in a nearby forest.
Last week the police said it carried out a major operation in the area that saw security forces "neutralize over 250 terrorists and bandits".
There was no independent confirmation of the toll.