No fewer than 17 worshippers have been killed by suspected bandits in a mosque in an early morning attack in Maza Kuka village in Mashegu local government area of Niger State.
Another 18 persons people were said to have been abducted during the attack on Monday.
The gunmen invaded the community in motorcycles while the residents were performing their morning prayers, shooting sporadically into the air.
Sources said that the gunmen shot at some victims, leaving 17 dead.
Some of the residents told The Nation on phone they were still in shock on the attack, which they said took them by surprise.
The Maza_Kuka and Kulhu communities in Mashegu local government council of Niger state are bordering Kianji Lake Forest where most of the bandits are said to be taking refuge.
Secretary to the Niger State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, confirmed the attack to reporters.
He said that 16 people were killed in the mosque while one other was killed at Kaboji village by the gunmen.
Matane said that the State Government has sent a team of military personnel to the forest to fish out bandits hiding there.
The Chairman of Mashegu local government council, Alhaji Alhassan Isa Maza-Kuka also confirmed the incident, describing it as very devastating to the people.
He said that the attack was uncalled for especially as the people were in the mosque for prayers.
Alhassan disclosed one of the injured people was in a critical condition and has been referred to the Minna General Hospital for medical attention.