At least 14 people were killed when gunmen invaded a village in Nigeria’s north-central state of Niger, police said.

Five others sustained gunshot wounds during the incident on Wednesday at the Ukuru Village, Xinhua news agency quoted Wasiu Abiodun, a spokesman for the police, as saying on Thursday.

Abiodun said the gunmen were suspected to be bandits.

According to Ashafa Maikera, leader of the village’s local vigilante group, they rode into the village on more than 50 motorcycles one night before the attack

Maikera said so far 13 male bodies and one female body had been recovered following the attack.

The police said they have launched an investigation into the attack.

Criminal groups known as bandits or herdsmen have stepped up raids and kidnappings in communities in Nigeria’s northwest and north-central states since 2019.

Armed groups sometimes take advantage of these conflicts and organize attacks.

In June, at least 20 soldiers and more than 40 civilians have been killed, and hundreds injured in twin attacks in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state.