Ten suspected Islamic fundamentalists were killed on Tuesday in Okene, near Lokoja in Kogi during a bloody encounter between an Islamic sect and men of the Nigerian Army.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt in Lokoja that soldiers, acting on information, stormed a mosque located on Inike Street in Okene to dislodge the sect members.
Reports said that some soldiers also sustained serious injuries and had been taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja for treatment.
NAN learnt that soldiers decided to act after obtaining information that the fundamentalists were using the mosque to hide guns and other sophisticated weapons.
The soldiers were said to have obtained useful information from two members of the sect, who were arrested during a gun attack at the Lokoja office of the State Security Service, SSS, on September 25.
As at the time of this report, Inike Street was said to be calm, but residents refused to come out of their houses because of fear.
The Public Relations Officer of the Kogi State Police Command, William Aya, said the operation was “a pure military affair”.
He gave no further details on the incident.
Efforts to get the reaction of the commander of the Nigerian Army Command in Lokoja proved abortive.
A resident of Okene told PREMIUM TIMES that the fracas was also the fallout of a previous killing of a soldier by the militants.
He said those responsible belong to a new terror group known as “Malam Baba terrorist group”.
The resident, Murtada Gusau, said residents of Okene were trapped in their homes as sound of gunshots rented the air.
“Shooting overwhelmed Okene town. We are still remained indoors,” he said in a text message to PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr. Gusau said, ‘The Malam Baba terrorist group set their people free last month from DSS cell in Lokoja, killed one soldier and the soldiers took over the whole town”.