Nigeria: Armed men kill 12 in mosque, abduct several others
An armed gang massacred 12 worshipers, including an imam, in a mosque and abducted several others after a shooting in Katsina state in northwest region of Nigeria on Saturday, reported Reuters. "State-backed vigilantes" chased the gang and managed to rescue six people, while the others were still held captive. While some reports said 19 people were abducted, others suggested figure to be at 64.
Why does this story matter?
- Armed gangs, locally called bandits, terrorize northwest and central Nigeria by raiding villages to steal cattle, kidnapping, looting, burning homes, and extorting money in lieu of farming.
- The vast Rugu Forest spanning four states is a haven for the bandits.
- Reports say the bandits and jihadists, who have been waging a war for 12 years to establish a caliphate, have collaborated in northwest Nigeria.
Bandits killed 15 last month
The incident took place in Maigamji village. The bandits reportedly arrived on motorcycles and opened fire, forcing worshipers to flee. The deceased, who had come for night prayers, were caught in the gunfire and killed, while the others were taken to the bush. Last month, bandits killed 15 people and abducted several others in a series of attacks in neighboring Kaduna state.
Department State Services director-general warns bandits
President Buhari challenged with ending violence before completing term
The Nigerian military has been bombing the bush camps of bandits but the attacks have continued. President Muhammadu Buhari, whose home state is Katsina, faces the challenge of putting an end to violence before leaving office next year after his eight-year tenure. Katsina is among the states bordering the neighboring country of Niger, and bandits move freely between both countries.