- Suspected armed bandits have launched a fresh attack in the northwestern state of Katsina
- The criminals invaded a mosque while Muslim worshippers were observing a midnight prayer and abducted 40 people
- A resident said the town had earlier been notified of the attack and they prepared but the bandits took them unaware by using another entry point
- Meanwhile, an update from the police indicate 30 out of the 40 kidnap victims have been rescued
Armed bandits have reportedly abducted 40 Muslim worshippers while observing Tahajjud, a kind of midnight prayer, at a mosque in Jibiya town of Katsina state.
According to Daily Nigerian, residents of the town said dozens of gunmen invaded the mosque around 2am on Monday, May 10, and took away the worshippers.
It was gathered that the bandits initially picked 47 congregants, including women and children, but seven later escaped and returned.
A resident identified as Lawal Jibiya said neighbouring villagers had alerted them about the impending attack, after sighting the movements of the bandits heading towards the town.
He added that hundreds of youth and local vigilante group in the town were on alert and ready to confront the bandits.
However, the criminals changed their route and entered the town from the western entry point.
Jibiya was quoted to have said:
“We were expecting them from the eastern entry point through Daddara, Kukar Babangida or Magama but this time they proceeded beyond the town and camped at Jibawa.
“From Jibawa they then went round to the western entry point near Yunusa Dantauri Hospital and attacked a mosque on the outskirt of the town."
According to him, the bandits did not fire a single shot until they finished the operation.
Police rescue some victims
Meanwhile, the Katsina state police command says it has rescued 30 out of 40 kidnap victims.
Confirming the rescue of the abducted worshipers, the spokesperson of the state police command, Gambo Isa the victims were rescued after their operatives and locals chased after the abductors.
Isah added that an investigation after the rescue operation revealed that there were 10 other people still unaccounted for.
He said they could not determine whether the remains were in the hands of gunmen or had escaped
According to him, the rescued people had already returned to their families. However, another resident said the victims were not rescued by the police.
Meanwhile, due to rising insecurity in the state and other parts of the country, the Emir of Daura in Katsina state, Dr Umar Faruk Umar, has banned the Sallah Durbar in the emirate for the forthcoming Eid-el-Fitr.
The decision of the monarch not to allow the traditional Sallah procession is contained in a circular addressed to the district heads of the emirate.
The traditional ruler in the statement dated Thursday, May 6, and signed by Danejin Daura, Alhaji Abdulmimini Sahihu also directed that no district head should visit him on the Sallah day.