The Nigerian Police force said they have discovered the bodies of 41 persons it described as bandits terrorising villages in Zamfara State.
Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson, disclosed this while briefing reporters on Wednesday in Gusau, the state capital.
He said police personnel found the men with their throats cut at different locations in the state.
Ebrimson revealed that 18 bodies were discovered in a river on Sunday and 23 others at a forest in the Zurmi area of Zamfara.
He added that four suspects were arrested after the bush area was combed while the police recovered machetes and guns during the search.
The police boss disclosed further that the suspects were identified as members of a local vigilante group who decided to embark on a mission of “extra-judicial killings”.
Farming and cattle herding communities in Zamfara have for years been terrorised by gangs of cattle thieves and kidnappers who raid villages, steal cows and abduct locals for ransom.
The gangs use the Ruggu forest which straddles Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states.
The attacks have prompted villagers to form militia groups for protection but they, too, have been accused of taking the law into their own hands and killing suspected bandits.