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More Kogi Killings

Kogi State, Nigeria (in red outline)
Kogi State, Nigeria (in red outline)

Gunmen have killed six people, including two Indians, in Nigeria's Kogi state, police said Saturday, with the region wracked by jihadist and gang violence.

The attackers opened fire on a bus in the industrial town of Ajaokuta late Friday, killing two Indians, their two police escorts and two drivers, state police spokesman William Ovye Aya said in a statement.

"Two expatriates, two company drivers and two police inspectors died in the exchange of fire", Aya said.

He described the gunmen as "hoodlums", a term used by the police for criminals and jihadists.

Aya said the Indians were employees of a ceramics company in the town.

He said the attackers fled before police reinforcements arrived on the scene.

He said police were on the trail of the gunmen while security had been stepped up to "restore normalcy in the area".

Last month, gunmen killed three policemen and five vigilantes in an ambush in the central state's Ajaokuta area, prompting the state governor to suspend a local chief and question the district's political administrator.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but Kogi has seen an uptick in violence in recent months.

In June, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) jihadists, operating outside their usual base in the northeast, bombed a police station in Kogi's Okehi district, killing a policeman and razing the facility.

In April, three policemen were killed when gunmen attacked a police station in the town of Adavi.

Both attacks were claimed by ISWAP which split from Boko Haram in 2016 to become a dominant jihadist group in the region.

The group was responsible for a recent jailbreak outside the Nigerian capital Abuja, freeing hundreds of inmates, including 64 jihadist commanders.