More than 40 women and children have been abducted in a mosque by gunmen at Kwata community, in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Monday morning while the victims were holding midnight prayers, known as Tahajjud.
Tahajjud is a special Islamic prayer mostly held during the Ramadan fast and is done after the last night prayer (Isha), and before the early morning prayer (Fajr).
According to sources, the gunmen stormed the mosque in their numbers, armed with sophisticated weapons.
One of the sources said a total of 47 persons, including women and children, were whisked away by the gunmen, ostensibly into the dreaded Rugu forest.
He, however, added that seven persons later returned and may have been voluntarily released by the gunmen.
The council area, located close to the Rugu forest, has experienced intermittent security challenges in recent times.
Last week, bandits abducted dozens of travelers and killed a journalist, one Ibrahim Dankabo, who was a Cameraman with the Information Unit of the council area.
Dankabo was trying to save a woman who was being kidnapped when he was shot at and he succumbed to his injuries shortly after.
Also last month, residents took the law into their hands and, in mob action, pursued and caught three suspected bandits, and killed them.
The spokesperson to the police command in the state, SP Gambo Isah, was yet to respond to an inquiry on the issue as at the time of this report.