POTISKUM, NIGERIA (BNO NEWS) — A group of gunmen attacked a cattle market in a remote town in northeastern Nigeria on late Wednesday after an earlier robbery failed, killing as many as 60 people and injuring dozens more, officials said on Friday.
The first incident occurred at around 11 a.m. local time on Wednesday when a group of armed robbers arrived at a livestock market in Potiskum, a town in Yobe state. The robbers opened fire and demanded money but were forced to retreat when those at the market resisted.
Witnesses and officials said the villagers were able to capture one of the robbers. “The robber was beaten to death by a group of angry locals and his corpse was then burnt,” a witness said on Thursday, adding that the robber begged for his life in a language mostly spoken in Nigeria’s Christian southeast.
Hours after the failed robbery, at around 6 p.m. local time, the gunmen returned and attacked the market with explosive devices before opening fire. “We could see corpses all over the market place,” the witness added. “There were cars and buildings but they were all burnt down by the robbers. The cattle was also killed.”
It remained unclear on Friday how many people had been killed as officials gave conflicting numbers. A spokesman for Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam said at least 60 people were killed, and officials at Potiskum hospital reported having received at least 56 bodies. The Nigerian Red Cross said at least 33 people were injured.