NIGERIA: Residents in Zamfara state, northwest Nigeria, claimed that a group of armed men attacked a mosque and killed at least 15 people.
Three locals who attended Friday prayers at the Jumu’at central mosque in Ruwan Jema town told Reuters that the attack in the Bukkuyum local government district occurred during that time.
Amimu Mustapha, a local, reported that “the armed bandits came on motorbikes while holding their guns and moved straight to the mosque and began to shoot us sporadically.”
Another local who wished to remain anonymous stated that the attack occurred at around 2:00 pm local time and that numerous additional people were hurt.
A Zamfara state police spokesman did not immediately return calls and texts requesting confirmation of the residents’ accounts.
Residents of Ruwan Jema claimed that they provided bandits with 9 million naira ($21,000), gasoline, and cigarettes in exchange for the men’s vow to leave them alone in August.
Over the past two years, gangs of highly armed individuals, known as bandits locally, have wreaked havoc across northwest Nigeria, kidnapping thousands, killing hundreds, and making some places dangerous to travel by road or farm in.
Security forces that are already stretched thin are baffled by the attacks. Before a bombing operation against bandits and terrorists, the military issued a warning to inhabitants of Zamfara and two other states last week, advising them to flee forested regions.