MAIDUGURI: According to police and witnesses, gunmen abducted hundreds of worshipers who were attending Friday afternoon prayers at a mosque in Zamfara, a state in northwest Nigeria.The northwest of Nigeria has seen an increase in violence, as armed gangs are prevalent and frequently successful in committing robberies or kidnappings for ransom.
An undetermined number of worshipers have been kidnapped from the Jumu’at central mosque in Zugu town, Bukkuyum local government region, according to Mohammed Shehu, a spokesman for the Zamfara police. Gusau, the state capital of Zamfara, is located 106 miles (172 km) west of Zugu.
“Personnel have been despatched for the search and rescue operation,” he added, adding that the Zamfara state police command had worked in conjunction with the military and vigilantes. Ibrahim Aminu, a witness in the mosque, the shooters disguised themselves as worshipers while concealing their weapons beneath their clothes.
He reported that as soon as they got onto the grounds of the mosque, they pulled out their weapons and started firing, sending people running for cover. The gunman took a large number of believers captive and led them somewhere they had no idea.
Mohammed Bukar Zugu claimed that his 22-year-old brother was one of those held hostage. Later, the gunmen called him on his phone and asked him to make a ransom payment. He asserted that they did not state their desired amount.