Fulani Herdsmen lay siege on Mosque, Kill 7 and Kidnap 10 others
Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, on Saturday invaded Etogi community in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State and killed 21 people. They also injured about 15 other villagers.
The attack came barely two months after armed herdsmen struck in Lefu community in Gurara Local Government Area where they killed seven people and kidnapped 10 others.
The latest attack was a reprisal by the herdsmen over a disagreement between some Fulani youths and members of Etoga community, which led to the death of a herder.
A close source in the community, said that the herdsmen were offered land by the community as their settlement, and to also farm on the agreement that certain amount of money would be paid to the village head every year.
Trouble allegedly started when the herdsmen failed to remit the agreed amount this year and claimed that the affected land now belonged to them.
This, however, did not go down well with the youths in the community who went on rampage which led to the death of the herder.
Irked by the death of one them, the herders allegedly called for support from their kinsmen elsewhere and launched the attack on the community mosque when Muslim faithful were observing their prayers.
Malam Mairo Mohammed, who lost one of his brothers in the attack, said that the attackers, who had laid siege on the mosque, waited for the worshipers and killed everyone in the mosque, including the Imam.
Women and children who were woken by the commotion were said to have fled into different direction with about 15 of them sustaining injuries in the process.
The state Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, who confirmed the attack, said that 20 people were killed when the villagers were about to observe their early morning prayers.
He said that the attack was a reprisal to an earlier killing of a herder by the villagers. “The killing of a herder was managed but it appears they were not satisfied and decided to retaliate,” Elkana stated.
According to him, a number of people who sustained various degrees of injuries during the attack, are recuperating in a nearby hospital.
He said: “The police have been deployed in the troubled community while the Department of State Services (DSS) and officers of the command’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) are on ground to maintain law and peace.”