Gunmen killed 21 people in night attacks on four Kaduna State villages, Police confirmed on Thursday.
An unspecified number of houses were burnt by the marauders, including one belonging to a dead colonel.
Police spokesman, Mr Muhammad Jalige said three people were injured.
The attacks were followed by the killings that have been going on in the southern part of the state.
Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) however disagreed with the police on the figure of the dead and on the number of villages attacked.
A statement by its spokesman, Mr Luka Binniyat claimed that 33 villagers died and that five communities and not four were attacked.
The group said: “Last night, 33 Atyap natives, who were among hundreds of thousands of already starving indigenes under a 24-hour curfew, were killed in Atyap villages in Atyap chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area in Southern part of Kaduna by Fulani militia.
“Prior to now, they were all shutdown with fierce armed military men patrolling and enforcing the 24-hour curfew. But when the gunmen struck, they were not on ground.
“Four Atyap youths from Majuju, and Kibori villages who went to farm under the curfew were arrested by soldiers after being thoroughly beaten and handed over to the Police who whisked them to SCID, Kaduna. They have been denied bail since 26th June, 2020.
“Last night, around 11 pm, truck-loads of armed Fulani militia made their way through military checkpoints under the curfew and stormed Apiashyim and Kibori villages. They laid siege to Apyaishyim, killing, looting and burning houses. In the wake of the cruelty, they left six people dead, and 20 houses burnt.
“In nearby Kibori village, seven persons were killed by the marauding, pampered Fulani militia.
“Around 12 am, they struck Atakmawei sleeping community and carried out another carnage after which 12 persons were killed and 10 houses burnt.
“They also went to Apyiako and killed three people, and burnt homes, including the home of late Bobai Ishaku, among others.
“At the same time, Magamiya village was also attacked and five people killed and seven houses burnt. The attackers operated between 11 pm and 4 am this (Thursday) morning before they left unchallenged.
The group accused Governor Nasir El-Rufai of “tying up our law-abiding people under an irrational, protracted curfew which is obviously intended to cause maximum harm to our communities.”
A source said the attackers of the villages operated unchallenged, having taken advantage of an all-night rain.
The source said: “It rained all through the night in the area and the attackers had unchallenged operations from around 10 pm Wednesday which entered early hours of Thursday(yesterday).
“By the time they were done, 22 bodies were recovered at about 12pm on Thursday but we are still conducting searches. They also burnt several houses.
A resident of Atak’mawei, Irimiya Gandu, said no fewer than 13 persons were killed and many houses burnt down in the community.
According to him, “around 1am, I was already asleep when I heard gunshots. I stepped out from our compound and found out that the sound was from nearby Apia’akum and Kibori villages. I rushed into my house and brought out my families and we ran to a safer place.
“So far, 13 persons, mostly children and women were killed. We are still looking for more bodies. Many houses were burnt also,” he said.
Also, a survivor in Apia’ahko, Samson Alat, said an aged man, a child and a youth were killed in the village by the bandits.
“They burnt the house of late Ishaku and five other important houses and stole from the village,” he said.
According to him, “soldiers came on motor bikes and an armoured tank, but they could not stop these wicked people. We were hiding inside maize farm and we saw them. This was around 1am last night. We are still looking for more missing people,” he said.
Secretary, Atyap Traditional Council, Mr Stephen Akut, also told journalists that, “the attackers came in large numbers to strike before security operatives were mobilised to the affected communities.”