Gunmen have killed no fewer than 18 persons in a mosque at Mazakuka in Mashegu Local Government Council of Niger State.
The gunmen were said to have stormed the mosque in the early hours of Monday when the victims were performing their early morning prayers (Subhi).
The attackers were also said to have used dangerous weapons, including machete and sharp objects on their victims.
According to a source close to the community, the bullet-wound on the bodies of the victims shows that they were shot at close range.
The gunmen invaded the community in motorcycles and made their way straight to the mosque where the people had gathered for prayers.
There was pandemonium in the entire community as people scrambled for their safety as the gunmen unleashed terror on their victims.
“We are surprised, confused and shocked over the attack”, an indigene of the community who did not want his name in print said.
Although 18 bodies were seen within the vicinity of the mosque, our source however pointed out that the casualty figure could be more because many people ran into the bush for safety and were yet to return.
Confirming the incident, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Monday Kuryas, said that at about 5:30am some unknown gunmen stormed and attacked the people at Mazakuka village while praying at the mosque, killing an unspecified number of worshipers.
According to him, the gunmen later destroyed property worth millions of naira belonging to Alhaji Abubakar Maigandus in the village before abducting seven other victims.
He explained that the police killed one of the attackers, adding that preliminary findings indicate that the attack was a reprisal one as a result of a long standing communal clash.
He however disclosed that already additional armed security personnel had since been deployed to the area to ensure that normalcy returns and arrest the miscreants undermining the peaceful coexistence among the people.
The Commissioner then solicited for the support of residents, especially those at rural areas to come forward with reliable information that could aid the personnel deployed across the state to ensure the arrest and prosecution of all those involved in the criminal acts.
“We are battle ready to confront any form of criminal elements as long as good Samaritans can volunteer credible information on movement of dubious characters in their midst”, he said.