Gunmen have raided a village in northern Nigeria and killed at least 48 people in a revenge attack targeting a local vigilante group.

Witnesses say dozens of gunmen arrived on motorbikes early Tuesday in the village of Kizara, moving from house to house and shooting at residents.

Some of the gunmen climbed on top of a hill and opened fire on villagers who tried to escape the attack.

Zamfara state officials say the gunmen were part of a group of cattle rustlers that have been terrorizing the local community. The gunmen targeted members of a local vigilante group that villagers set up to thwart their attacks.

Officials say those killed include the village chief, an imam and a leader of the vigilante group.

There was no sign of any link to Islamist radical group Boko Haram, which has carried out dozens of shooting attacks in Nigeria's northeast.