Nigerian gunmen abduct at least 60 women observing Prophet Muhammad's birthday

Nigerian gunmen abduct at least 60 women observing Prophet Muhammad's birthday

A father is reunited with his two children in Katsina, Nigeria, on December 18, 2020. More than 300 schoolboys kidnapped last week in an attack on their school in northwest Nigeria have arrived in Katsina state to celebrate their release. SUNDAY ALAMBA AP MAIDUGURI, Nigeria - Nigerian gunmen kidnapped at least 60 people in a remote community in northwestern Zamfara state, who were mostly women observing Prophet Muhammad's birthday, residents said on Thursday in the latest wave of abductions to hit the state.

The violence has been increasing as thinly stretched security forces don't stop attacks, and armed gangs are rife across the country's northwest where they rob or kidnap for ransom.

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That has raised concerns about whether residents in the region will be able to vote in the February presidential election to choose a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, who is constitutionally barred from running again.

On Wednesday night, two residents said gunmen on motorbikes arrived in the Magami Tandu community of the Kaura Namoda local government area and were shot sporadically.

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They took mostly women who were watching Mawlid a celebration of Prophet Muhammad's birthday, which is held between the end of September and the end of November in Nigeria's mainly northern Muslim states, the residents said.

There is killing or abduction on a daily basis, leaving us homeless. Abdulkarim Haruna, whose wife was kidnapped, told the government to act and bring justice to us.

The residents said 19 people were killed on Tuesday when gunmen attacked Ryuji community in Zamfara's Zurmi local government area, which is next to Kaura Namoda.

Mohammed Shehu, a Zamfara police spokesperson, could not be reached for comment.