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Friday, February 3, 2023
HomeWorldNigeria: Gunmen invade an Islamic mosque, take 13 hostages

Nigeria: Gunmen invade an Islamic mosque, take 13 hostages

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On Saturday night, gunmen “attacked the Maigamji village mosque and kidnapped 19 worshippers, after shooting and wounding the imam and another worshiper” during evening prayers, said Gabo Isa, a police spokesman in Katsina state.

Thirteen people are being held hostage by gunmen who attacked the Islamic mosque where they had gone to pray in Nigeria’s Katsina state (northwest), police said Wednesday.

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On Saturday night, gunmen “attacked the Maigamji village mosque and kidnapped 19 worshippers, after shooting and wounding the imam and another worshiper” during evening prayers, said Gabo Isa, a police spokesman in Katsina state.

“Our men gave chase to the miscreants and managed to rescue six of the worshipers from the hands of the kidnappers, while efforts are underway to free the remaining 13,” he added.

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The two injured are being treated in a hospital, the spokesman clarified.

Heavily armed gangs, which the authorities generally refer to as bandits, have been terrorizing residents in central and northwestern Nigeria for more than a decade, committing animal theft, looting, kidnapping for ransom and murders. Their attacks have multiplied in recent years.

Although kidnappings for ransom are common, they are rarely committed at places of worship, the gangs seem to prefer to attack educational institutions or commuters.

Generally, hostages are released by the criminals after a ransom is paid.

The gangs operate with impetuous camps mainly in the vast Rugu Forest, which spans parts of Zamfara, Niger, Katsina and Kaduna states.

In November, 15 people were killed and many others injured in a series of attacks by bandits in villages in Kaduna state, according to authorities.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who is on his way to completing his second term, has come under sharp criticism for widespread insecurity in Africa’s most populous country. Mr. Buhari is constitutionally ineligible to be a candidate in the presidential election to be held in two and a half months.

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