At least 30 women and children drown fleeing gunmen who “sporadically fire” in Nigeria.

At least 30 women and children have drowned in Nigeria after their boats capsized trying to escape from a group of armed attackers.

Violence erupted in the troubled region on Wednesday after unidentified gunmen launched an attack on the Birnin Waje township in Zamfara state.

The gunmen “started firing sporadically” during the hour-long attack, a local source told Premium Times.

The gunmen accessed the community from the west end. But before they could get deeper into the community, some residents began fleeing to Zauma, a community across the river, according to the outlet.

Women and children tried to cross the river in boats. However, some of them fatally drowned after two canoes capsized.

The exact death toll remains unclear, but the outlet claimed at least 30 women and children lost their lives.

“The situation is dire because most people have fled their homes. 13 bodies have been recovered so far,” a resident named Ibrahim Zauma said, according to AP News.

Ibrahim Bello, a Zamfara government spokesman, confirmed the incident in a Facebook post, but gave no details about the gunmen or whether any arrests had been made.

“Following a stampede of displaced people on board fleeing the pursuit of bandit terrorists at Zauma Ferry Station, an unknown number of mostly women and children drowned after two canoes capsized,” he noted.

Umar Birnin-Waje, a resident of the community, said he managed to escape from the gunmen during the attack. Birnin-Waje believes nine women and children were buried after the drowning incident.

“The bandits entered the village about fifteen minutes to six and were there until 10 p.m. I hid in a corner when the attack took place and there was no security to hold off the attack,” he told Channels Television.

“You know that Birnin Waje is a river community, when the bandits entered the village, many people ran to safety, so they got into a canoe and the canoe sank. As I speak to you, we have buried nine people, and most of them are women and children,” Birnin-Waje added.

The attack in question came after reports of armed raiders raiding communities in the northwest and center of the country. Young herders had taken up arms and launched such attacks because of clashes between Fulani herdsmen and local communities over access to land and water, officials said.

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