Gunmen suspected to be bandits, on Friday attacked and killed five worshippers during the Juma’at service held at a mosque in Dutsen Gari community, Kanoma District of Maru local government area of Zamfara state.
The gunmen also abducted the Imam that led the Friday Juma’at service, as well as more than 30 of the worshippers.
According to the residents, the gunmen arrived the village on motorbikes when the Imam was delivering the sermon, opening fire on the congregants.
“There was a pandemonium as everyone was scampering for safety. They abducted the Imam and more than 30 others and dashed into the bush on motorbikes,” residents further said.
According to a report published by Daily Trust newspaper, a military fighter jet had arrived but they were not sure whether the aircraft had attacked the positions of the criminals but it hovered for some times and flew away.
The suspected bandits had earlier attacked Maje, Kunkurai and Zanau villages and rustled herds of cows and other domestic animals before they invaded Dutsen Gari. The villages are few kilometers apart.
Another resident identified as Halilu Adamu said he had earlier been informed that armed criminals on motorcycles were approaching the community and he quickly got out of the mosque and locked himself inside his house.
“I was listening to a sermon when my elder brother came closer and whispered into my ears that armed bandits are planning to invade the community. From inside my house I could here gunshots”
“My younger brother is among those kidnapped and we are yet to hear from the abductors whether they are demanding for ransom or not. Most of the surrounding villages have been attacked with people kidnapped and animals rustled,” he added.
Efforts to reach the spokesman of the Zamfara state police command, SP Muhammad Shehu, proved abortive.