1st LD Writethru: Gunmen kill two senior officials in NW Nigeria

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ABUJA, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Police in Nigeria's northwestern state of Katsina said they have launched a manhunt for gunmen who shot dead a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the national ruling party, following a failed attempt to kidnap him.

Abdulhamid Sani, chairman of the Batsari local government area of the state, was shot dead on Sunday by the gunmen, believed to be bandits, state police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement early Monday.

The gunmen stormed the Batsari local government area of Katsina, where the 55-year-old Sani was a leader of the governing party, and began shooting sporadically with sophisticated weapons, Isah said.

Sani had resisted being kidnapped when he was shot dead by the gunmen, who later fled into a nearby forest, the spokesman said.

In a separate statement Monday, Gambo Isah said a group of gunmen, armed with AK 47 rifles, also attacked on late Sunday the residence of a district head in the Dan Musa local government area of Katsina.

Abu Atiku, the district head, was shot by the gunmen alongside his bodyguard during the attack, Isah said.

The bandits escaped later into a forest while the victims were taken to a local hospital. Atiku was confirmed dead while his bodyguard was admitted and responding to treatment. "Investigation is ongoing," the state police spokesperson said.

The late district head is the second senior official killed by gunmen within the last 24 hours in the state.

Many people have been killed in northwestern Nigeria in recent months in a series of attacks by gunmen who also carried out robberies, kidnappings and cattle rustling.

Nigerian military has stepped up operation against gunmen groups in the northwest area, with scores of gunmen killed and their hideouts destroyed, according to recent statements from the defense headquarters. Enditem

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