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Niger State on Nigerian Map

Niger State on Nigerian Map

Death toll in the attack at Epogi community in the Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State, has risen to 27, the Niger State Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday.

The director-general of the agency, Ibrahim Inga, told reporters in Minna that 21 people were killed during the attack, while three bodies were recovered from a river.

Mr. Inga said three other victims died at the Federal Medical Centre, Bida, bringing the total number of deaths to 27.

The attack occurred on Sunday when gunmen suspected to be herdsmen invaded the community.

Mr. Inga said the gunmen stormed the community at about 6 a.m. when Muslims were observing their morning prayers in a mosque and killed 21 on the spot.

He said there was an argument between members of the community and a herdsman, Yakubu Yuguda, who came to settle on a portion of land in the community.

Mr. Inga said in the ensuing argument, a boy was killed and the matter was reported to the police, leading to the arrest of Mr. Yuguda, who was later released.

He said after the incident, the community enjoyed relative peace until May 14, when the village was attacked.

He said that assessment had been carried out by SEMA to provide relief materials to victims.

Mr. Inga called on members of the community to return to their homes as security operatives had been deployed to the area.

PREMIUM TIMES confirmed that residents of the community were yet to return to their homes three days after the attack.

Survivors took refuge at a nearby village, Kpata Katcha.

The attackers were reported to have swooped on the villagers while they were praying in a mosque, killing everyone, including the imam.

An official of the state government told PREMIUM TIMES that apart from those in the Mosque, the attackers also killed more persons, especially women, in their houses.

Some of the villagers told PREMIUM TIMES that the attackers took away their cellphones.

“In fact, we have called some of the lines and the attackers picked the call and told us that they will still come back and finish us, that is why we have not gone back,” one of them said.

The spokesperson of the police in the state, Bala Elkana, said the attack was unexpected as the issue surrounding the killing of a boy had earlier been resolved.

Mr. Elkana said the police had been mobilised to the area to keep peace.