Nigeria mosque from mosque in Nigeria

Gunmen on Monday kidnapped 10 worshippers from a mosque near Nigeria’s northwestern border with Niger, although security forces managed to rescue dozens of others, police said.

Northwest and central Nigeria have increasingly become a hub for criminal gangs known locally as bandits who raid villages, killing or abducting residents for ransom.

The gunmen stormed the mosque around 01:00 GMT in the town of Jibiya in Katsina state, where 47 people were observing an overnight vigil during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, state police spokesman Gambo Isa said.

“The bandits kidnapped 40 worshippers from the mosque and herded them into the bush,” Isa said.

“They were however pursued by a team of policemen with the assistance of local vigilantes and residents who succeeded in rescuing 30 of the hostages.”

He said the bandits were able to escape with 10 worshippers.

Muslims observe night-long vigil in the last 10 days of Ramadan where they throng mosques for prayers. Kidnapping attacks on mosques in Nigeria are rare.

The kidnappers were believed to have come from Dumburum forest in neighbouring Zamfara state where they maintain camps, Isa said.

Gangs keep base camps in Rugu forest which straddles Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.

Criminal gangs are driven by financial motives and have no known ideological leanings. But security experts say there is growing concern they are being infiltrated by jihadists waging a 12-year old insurrection in Nigeria’s northeast.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 11:59:33 PM |

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