Map of Tawari Nigeria
Tawari Nigeria

ABUJA, NIGERIA - Armed assailants on Friday killed 19 people in a nighttime raid on a rural community in central Nigeria, police said.

The gunmen torched houses and other buildings after launching the attack against the Tawari community in Kogi state, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the capital Abuja, at midnight.

"They burnt some houses, a school, a church and the palace of the local ruler," regional police spokesman William Aya told AFP. "Nineteen people were killed."

A local security source told AFP that the killings were suspected to be a reprisal attack linked to clashes with a rival community in the area, but there was no official confirmation.

Police spokesman Aya said the motive for the attack and identity of the assailants remained unclear.

"We have commenced the investigation and it will reveal what happened," he said.