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MAIDGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Armed bandits attacked a village in Nigeria’s northwest Kaduna state, killing at least 40 people, residents and officials said.

Police Inspector General Ibrahim Idris confirmed the bandits invaded the village of Gwaska Saturday, fighting local defense forces protecting the Birnin Gwari local government area, a community of about 3,000 people. He said 200 policemen and 10 patrol vehicles were deployed to the scene.

A resident who helped fight the bandits said at least 40 people were killed and the toll will likely climb. He spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons. He said the attackers were from Zamfara state, and that they shot at children and torched houses as residents fled.

The attack came about a week after other unidentified gunmen attacked a nearby village.

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The Kaduna State government confirmed the attack but didn’t give a casualty figure.

In a statement, the local government said it is concerned by the incessant banditry attacks in the region and has been engaging with the federal government on the matter.

“The Kaduna State Government has received with sadness reports of the murder of our citizens by armed bandits in Birnin Gwari,” it said, adding that it is committed to resolving the problem.

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a permanent battalion of the Nigerian Army in the Birnin Gwari area.

The State Emergency Management Agency is providing aid to those affected, it said.