At least 20 people were killed in Nigeria's Sokoto state when gunmen attacked a market and torched cars, a state official and local member of Parliament said on Saturday.

Iran PressAfrica: "The bandits in large numbers killed at least 20 people that we have seen and counted and set nine vehicles on fire," Idriss Gobir, Special Adviser to the Sokoto police affairs minister said, according to Reuters.

Hussain Boza, a local member of Parliament in Sokoto, blamed the attack on a lack of adequate security in the state.

According to the officials, armed gangs continue to wreak havoc in the northwest part of the country.

A local police spokesperson confirmed the attack but could not immediately say how many people had been killed.

Northwestern Nigeria has since last December witnessed a wave of kidnappings of school children and villagers for ransoms by bandits, disrupting everyday life for millions of citizens.

Like neighbouring states in the northwest of Nigeria, parts of Sokoto are under a telecommunications blockade as part of a security operation to disrupt the armed gangs.

On Thursday, security agents rescued 187 people who had been abducted in nearby Zamfara state.

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