No less than 21 persons were feared dead on Sunday after gunmen suspected to be herdsmen launched an early morning attack on a community mosque in Etogi community, Gbara ward, in Mokwa local government area of Niger state.
The attack occurred when the villagers were observing their early morning prayers on Sunday.
The Nation reports that the Imam of the mosque was among those killed during the raid while some women and children sustained various degrees of injuries.
The attack, it was learnt, followed an earlier disagreement between some Fulani youths and members of the affected community which resulted in the death of a herder.
It was also gathered that the disagreement was due to the failure of a herder to remit the percentage of the proceed of the land given to them by the villagers which was meant to be paid to the village head. The herders maintained that the land is theirs.
Speaking on the incident, a witness revealed that the attackers killed everyone in the mosque including the Imam.
Confirming the incident, the Niger state Police Command said that the attack was a reprisal for the death of a herdsman who died as à result of the disagreement between the villagers and the herdsmen.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana who said 20 people were killed explained that the killing of a herder was managed,” but it appears they were not satisfied and decided to retaliate.”
He said eight people who sustained various degrees of injuries due to the commotion that occured during the attack are currently recuperating in a nearby hospital.
The police spokesman added that there is peace in the community as mobile policemen have been deployed to ensure that there is no more trouble from any of the affected parties.