There is panic in Ughelli in Delta State over the kidnap of the Imam of the Ughelli Central Mosque after gunmen attacked worshippers shortly after prayers on Friday morning.
At least 11 persons were injured by the gun-wielding hoodlums who stormed the mosque, reportedly in an ash coloured Toyota Sienna.
The gunmen, said to be a gang of five, stormed the mosque located at Otovwievwiere Street in Okorodafe axis of the town around 6 am, shooting sporadically.
According to reports, the Imam, Mallam Muhammadu Sani, was whisked away to an unknown destination.
One of the injured victims that spoke from his hospital bed, Muhammed Bagudu, 63, said that the gunmen with their faces masked entered the mosque and began to shoot at people.
“They shot me, my brother, one of the Imams and went away with another Imam, Muhammadu Sani from Katsina state,” Bagudu said.
Narrating the incident, the secretary of Arewa Community, Ughelli North, Darlington Ahmed Garma, said the suspects parked their vehicle “opposite the mosque. Two men entered the Mosque, and as they were taking the Imam away, they told the remaining members that were performing their morning prayers to go outside.
“Before they got outside the mosque, eleven worshippers were shot and they are currently on admission.”
Condemning the attack, foremost Muslim leader in the State, Alhaji Mumaika Unagha, said that Muslim worshippers, particularly those in Ughelli area are now in fear, as they do not know the motive for the attack”.
Calling on the Commissioner of Police, Ari Mohammed Ali, to urgently fish out the culprits, he recalled that about two years ago, the Secretary of the Delta State Muslim Council, Mallam Musa Ugasa, who was a resident of Ughelli, was attacked and killed in yet to be unraveled circumstances.
Efforts to speak with the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Edafe Bright, were unsuccessful.