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Gunmen kill seven worshippers in Nigeria's northern Kaduna state

By Ahmed Kingimi

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least seven worshippers were killed in an attack on a mosque by a gang of armed men in Nigeria's northwest Kaduna state, police said on Saturday.

The attack, in the remote Saya village of the Ikara local government area of the state, occurred late on Friday as worshippers gathered for prayer, Kaduna police spokesman Mansur Haruna said by phone.

Two others injured during the attack were taken to hospital for treatment, Haruna said.

A resident of the village, Haruna Ismail, told Reuters by phone: "Five people were shot inside the mosque while praying and the other two were shot within the village community."

Gangs of heavily armed men have wreaked havoc across Nigeria's northwest in the past three years, kidnapping thousands, killing hundreds and making it unsafe in some areas to travel by road or to farm.

The attacks have confounded Nigeria's security forces that are overstretched combating a 14-year Islamist insurgency in the northeast, violent farmer-herder and sectarian clashes in the central region, and rising attacks by a separatist group in the southeast.

(Reporting by Ahmed Kingimi; Writing by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo; Editing by David Holmes)