Eye-witnesses said the attackers fired in the air before abducting several worshippers at a mosque in northwestern Nigeria on April 2, 2024. / Photo: AP

Gunmen have abducted about one dozen worshippers and a woman in an attack on a mosque in Nigeria.

The group fired several shots around a mosque in the Buluku community on the outskirts of Gusau, the capital of northwest Zamfara State while Muslims observed Ramadan prayers early Tuesday, a witness Mohammed Haliru said.

"We heard sporadic gun shots near the mosque while we observed Tahajjud (Night prayer) … at about 2am. This created panic and we ran out of the mosque in fear. It was dark outside. People fell into the hands of the gunmen outside. I heard them begging the bandits in the name of Allah," he told Anadolu.

Samaila Aminu said the community has yet to find one dozen worshippers who were in the mosque during the attack.

'Targeted a businessman'

Police spokesperson Yacid Abubakar in Zamfara State told Anadolu the gunmen targeted a businessman in the area.

"Reports with the police show that the armed men killed a businessman in his house while attempting to resist abduction, and thereafter kidnapped his wife," he said.

Abubakar said heavy gunshots forced worshippers to flee the mosque.

But he said police did not receive reports of abductions at the mosque. He could not also confirm if police or the military have begun an operation to rescue those who were abducted.

Hundreds kidnapped

On Monday, army chief Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja said in an Easter celebration message to troops in operations against terrorism, banditry and armed groups that they should not be discouraged as the country experienced a recent spike in violent attacks in recent time.

More than 400 people including students and displaced victims of terror attacks have been kidnapped by armed groups between January and March.

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