- There are ongoing joint efforts to rescue the worshippers kidnapped in a Katsina Mosque recently
- Niger Republic soldiers are joining their Nigerian counterparts in the search and rescue operation
- Both countries' armed forces have a history of partnership and collaborations to root out criminal elements
The Nigerian Army has said that it will collaborate with its counterparts in the Niger Republic to track fleeing bandits and rescue the worshippers abducted at a Mosque in Katsina state.
The bandits had on Monday, May 10 abducted 45 worshippers, but the police said 35 of the victims were recovered while 10 were still with the bandits.
A statement signed by army spokesman, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima and seen by Legit.ng, said the army was collaborating with the Niger Republic military to track the kidnappers, with a view to rescuing the victims.
In combating terrorism, insurgency, and banditry, Nigeria has over the years, sustained a healthy military relationship with its West African neighbours.
Part of the statement read:
“Further efforts are ongoing to rescue the others in collaboration with neighbouring military establishments, including those of Niger Republic.”
Legit.ng had earlier reported that the bandits abducted the worshippers while they were observing Tahajjud, a kind of midnight prayer.
Residents of the town said dozens of gunmen invaded the mosque around 2 am and took away the worshippers.
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 but to no avail.
Similarly, in Sokoto, one police officer was killed by armed bandits at Runjin Sambo area of Sokoto South local government area of the state where a sizable number of Muslim faithful gathered for tahajjud prayer.
The bandits numbering about 20 opened fire on the patrol van and killed the policeman.