By Nathan Morley
Gunmen have abducted at least 60 people in north-western Nigeria after raiding five villages.
This latest kidnapping happened in Zamfara state. It is reported that at least 70 gunmen on motorbikes rode into five villages and fired shots into the air.
Alarmed local residents described how the perpetrators caused panic before abducting villagers and escaping into nearby woodland.
In recent months, Nigeria has been faced with an increase in armed robberies and kidnappings for ransom.
Back in April, growing crime rate across the country led lawmakers to call on the president to declare a state of emergency.
The crimes are committed mainly in north-western areas, where security forces are struggling to cope with the situation.
The dire situation north-western Nigeria is compounded by insurgencies in the northeast that the UN says has left 350,000 people dead over the last decade.
Northeast Nigeria has suffered greatly since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009 – recent kidnappings have alarmed the already beleaguered population.
Just last month, the United Nations began appealing for $250 million to provide food assistance for millions of people in northeast Nigeria, many of whom risk starving to death.
The U.N. Children’s Fund reports severe acute malnutrition causes stunting, wasting, physical and mental impairment, and even death.