Officials: Deadly attack hits north Nigeria mosque
LAGOS, Nigeria -- Gunmen armed with rifles and machetes attacked a rural village Sunday in northern Nigeria, killing at least 10 people, including worshippers leaving a mosque after prayers before dawn, officials said.
The attack happened in Dogon Dawa, a village deep in the pasturelands of Kaduna state where police and security forces maintain only a light presence. The number of dead could be higher as emergency responders acknowledged that estimates of those killed in the attacks varied wildly and few eyewitnesses could be directly reached after the attacks. Police and soldiers also cut off access to the region Sunday, limiting the response of aid agencies.
A rescue official in the state who lives near the village told The Associated Press the attacks began in the early morning under the cover of darkness, with as many as 50 gunmen surrounding the village and its surrounding farmlands. The majority of those killed appeared to be leaving the village's main mosque after the early call to prayers, the official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being targeted by those who carried out the attack.
Even the reasons for the attack remained unclear. The emergency official said locals already had blamed a gang of robbers who recently arrived from neighboring Zamfara state and had begun attacking villages and robbing people along the road. Dogon Dawa had formed a local vigilante committee to patrol their area and that group and the robbers had been killing each other over the course of the last weeks, the official said.
"This time around they decided to launch a reprisal attack," the official said.
However, activist Shehu Sani, who leads the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress, said it appeared the attack was between Muslim farmers and Muslim nomadic cattlemen who graze in the area. Tensions and violence spring up between the two groups over land rights, though not often with such an intensity.
"The spasm of violence and senseless bloodshed in the northern parts of Nigeria has reached an alarming and unacceptable level," Sani said.
Kaduna state sits on the fault line running between Nigeria's largely Christian south and Muslim north, where mass killings and violence have occurred over the last decade. After the April 2011 presidential election, protests over Christian Goodluck Jonathan winning quickly turned into ethnic and religious violence that saw hundreds killed in that state alone. There also have been church bombings and suicide car bomb attacks in the state as well, some carried out by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which has killed more than 690 people across the country this year alone, according to an AP count.
In the northeast city of Maiduguri on Sunday, a bomb exploded near a neighborhood where a lieutenant was killed last week. That killing had set off a reprisal attack by soldiers stationed there that saw more than 30 civilians killed, locals said. The blast targeted those trying to go to a church nearby, military spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said. He did not say if anyone was injured in the blast.
Meanwhile, a traditional ruler in the city who helped gather others together in a conference calling for an end to attacks by Boko Haram was shot dead in his home Sunday afternoon, a security official said. The official said he believed Boko Haram gunmen targeted the ruler named Mala Kaka. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to journalists.
The violence has embittered many living in the region and exposed the inability of Nigeria's weak central government to provide basic security in the nation of more than 160 million people.
Responding to the latest attack in Kaduna state, Sani said: "We have become a nation of unknown gunmen and absentee leaders."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- Starkey: Tomlin lived in his fears
- Steelers receiver Wheaton takes advantage of opportunity in breakout game
- Penguins’ reshuffled top line of Crosby, Dupuis, Kunitz looks familiar
- Increasing player salaries pinch financial flexibility of Pirates
- New Florence man charged with killing police officer
- NFL notebook: Report: No tears in Gronkowski’s knee
- Steelers notebook: Bryant confident in backup Jones if Big Ben can’t play
- West Virginia notebook: Mountaineers could factor into Kansas State bowl situation
- Opening day of deer season draws better crowds than a year ago
- School bus heavily damaged in Homewood fire