Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen in the early hours of Sunday attacked Etogi community, Gbara ward in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State, killing 21 persons in a reprisal attack leaving many others injured.
The Eagle Online on Sunday gathered that the Saturday night attack was as a result of an earlier disagreement between some Fulani youth and members of the affected community, which resulted in the death of one of the herdsmen.
It was gathered that the herders, who maintained a settlement near the community, were offered land to farm on the agreement that certain percentage of the proceeds would go to the village head.
However, disagreement ensued when the herders failed to remit the agreed percentage this year, claiming that the land in question now belongs to them after staying for a period of time.
Irked by the death of one of them, the herders were alleged to have reached out for support from their kinsmen in other parts of the state.
They then launched an attack on the community mosque, when Muslim faithful were observing their early morning prayers on Sunday.
Malam Mairo Mohammed told journalists that the attackers killed everybody in the mosque, including the Imam.
It was further gathered that women and children who were alarmed by the commotion fled in different directions, with some of them sustaining injuries in the process.
Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer of the Niger State Police Command, DSP Bala Elkana, said at least 20 people were killed during the early morning prayer.
Elkana added 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. About eight people sustained various degrees of injuries during the attack and are recuperating in a nearby hospital,” he stated.
He disclosed further that mobile policemen have been deployed to the troubled community, while the Department of State Services and officers of the command’s Criminal Investigation Department were also on ground to keep the peace.