19 killed in attack by gunmen in central Nigeria

Displaced people gather at the cooking facility at an Internally displaced people (IDPs) camp in Lokoja, Kogi State, on September 19, 2018. - Nigeria has declared a national disaster after severe flooding left about 100 people dead across 10 states, the country's main relief agency said on September 18, 2018. Heavy seasonal rains have caused the Niger and Benue rivers to burst their banks, inundating communities, farms and trapping tens of thousands of people in their homes. (Photo by SODIQ ADELAKUN / AFP) (Photo credit should read SODIQ ADELAKUN/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Displaced people gather at a cooking facility at an Internally displaced people (IDPs) camp in Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria. (Photo credit SODIQ ADELAKUN/AFP via Getty Images)

At least 19 people were killed by an armed gang during an attack on a community on Friday night in Nigeria’s Kogi state, according to the police.

The regional police spokesman also said that several houses and other buildings, including a church, were burnt down following the attack on the Tawari community.

William Aya said that the intention behind the attack and the identity of the attackers are still unknown. an investigation into the incident has been launched.

The attack is suspected to be in retaliation for clashes with a rival community situated in that area, AFP reports citing a local security official.

Kogi is located further south than where the usual targets of Islamist group Boko Haram are in the majority Muslim north. However, the state is not immune from jihadist violence.

In August 2012, gunmen killed three people in an attack on a mosque in the town of Okene. Just a day earlier, 19 people were killed in a gunfight at a church in the same town.

In February that year, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a prison break in the state in which one person was killed and more than 100 prisoners were released.