Gunmen attacked a mosque in Nigeria’s volatile northwestern state of Katsina on Saturday, killing a dozen worshipers and kidnapping several others, according to news reports.
The unidentified assailants arrived at Maigamji mosque on motorbikes on Saturday night, and started shooting sporadically, which forced worshipers to flee, Reuters reported.
About 12 people, who were attending night prayers, were caught in the gunfire and killed, including the chief imam.
“They then gathered many people and took them to the bush. I’m praying that the bandits release the innocent people they abducted,” as per Reuter’s report.
Katsina state police spokesman Gambo Isah confirmed the attack, saying state-backed vigilantes, with the support of some residents, had managed to rescue some worshippers.
Armed gangs have spread a reign of terror across the volatile northwest over the years, carrying out kidnappings of hundreds of school children and villagers.
Northwestern states of Nigeria have long been battered by violence, including clashes over land between rival communities, attacks by heavily-armed criminal gangs, and reprisal killings by vigilante groups.