Residents of the northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara state said that a gang of armed men killed at least 15 people at a mosque on Saturday.
The attack in the Bukkuyum local government area took place during Friday prayers at the Jumu’at central mosque in Ruwan Jema town,three residen of northwest Nigeria told some sources.
“The armed bandits came on motorbikes while holding their guns and moved straight to the mosque and began to shoot at the crowd sporadically,” resident Amimu Mustapha said.
Another local resident who asked to be kept anonymous stated that the attack took place at roughly 2:00 PM according to local time, adding a number of people at the mosque were injured as a result of the sporadical firing.
A spokesman for Zamfara state police did not immediately respond to calls or text messages seeking to confirm the residents’ reports.
In August, following a similar attack, Ruwan Jema residents said they gave bandits 9 million naira ($21,000), petrol and cigarettes seeking the promise that the men would leave them alone.
Gangs of heavily armed men, most often locally known as bandits, have wreaked havoc across northwest Nigeria for the past two years. These bandits are responsible for kidnapping thousands, killing hundreds and making it unsafe to travel by road or farm in a number of areas in northwest Nigeria.
The attacks have been confusing, boggling and often overstretched security forces. The military last week warned residents in Zamfara and two other states to leave forested areas ahead of a bombing campaign targeting bandits and terrorists.
An advertisement on local television and radio stations has been sending warnings to the locals in Zamfara, Katsina and the Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna state to leave the forests in advance of a “heavy bombardment.”
The military has asked the TV and Radio to play it. Versions of the advertisement have also been prepared in local pidgin English, Hausa, Kanuri and Fulani.
A military official reached the sources by phone confirmed and the advertisement’s authenticity but declined to share his name or any further information.