Gunmen have killed at least 22 people in Nigeria’s central state of Niger, according to the state’s security coordinator.
Most of the casualties are from local vigilante groups and police officers.
The state has struggled in recent months to stop attacks by armed criminal gangs.
The state’s security coordinator, retired Colonel Kabiru Muhammad Maikundi, said the gunmen were thought to have been planning to kidnap residents when they arrived on motorbikes in the town of Dukku in Rijau area.
Vigilante group members who have formed to protect residents were then killed in clashes with the attackers.
In a separate incident on Wednesday evening gunmen attacked a bank in the town of Kagara killing three police officers and a civilian.
But the authorities have denied reports that the attackers also stole money from the bank.
Niger state government security officials said the gunmen were killed in the two incidents, although the number is still unclear.
Niger state is one of several states in central and north-western Nigeria where armed criminal gangs frequently carry out killings, looting and kidnappings for ransom.
Combined efforts of security forces and local vigilantes have failed to end the violence so far.