Gunmen killed at least eight people and took about 150 villagers hostage from Niger State, in central Nigeria, in another mass kidnapping of those that occur all too often in the country.

During the attack, late last Friday night in the village of Kutsi, the assailants riding motorcycles killed eight villagers, local government president Aminou Natzoume told AFP.

“Each motorcycle was carrying three men,” he said, adding that “no help reached the village during the three hours the attack lasted.”

A United Nations source confirmed the account. Nigeria’s search and rescue agency SEMA said there were “more than 100 abductees”.

According to Aminou Natjoume, the security forces have not been able to put an end to these raids.

These killers usually come from neighboring Kaduna State (…) and then leave again. They come in hundreds and no one in the security services notices them and when residents inform them of the danger they do nothingNatjume complained.

Amnesty International also denounced the attack on the village, which “is further evidence of the complete inability of the Nigerian authorities to protect the lives” of people.

Nigerian authorities have left rural communities in Niger State at the mercy of gunmen who kill and kidnap people daily“, he added.

It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of hostages in such attacks because sometimes villagers hide for days in the jungle to escape the kidnappers. Mass kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria’s North West, Central and North East States, where heavily armed gangs target and loot isolated villages.

The Islamist organizations Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) also carry out mass kidnappings in Nigeria, mainly in the northeast, but have gradually expanded their activities to the central and northwestern states. Niger State is one of the many that has been terrorized by criminal organizations for years. Some of them were born as a result of the conflicts between cultivators and breeders, as the former accuse the latter of destroying and grabbing their land with their animals.

The criminal organizations (called “bandits” by local authorities) are motivated by profit, but many experts worry about a possible alliance with jihadists in the north.